Monday, 6 January 2014

Liverpool Care Pathway - The Audacity Of Desperation

The denial of options and the downsizing of care... The Audacity of Hope or the Futility of Despair?
The Express reports on the strange case of Pauline Toms –
“I have lost two stones in just over four weeks, I’m completely dehydrated and my mobility has reduced to basically moving between the bed and the toilet,” she sobbed. 
“Professor Fullarton said one of the strangulated parts of the bowel will rupture or one of my tears will burst open, I will contract septicemia and die from organ failure.” 
She added: “The doctors know how ill I am but I am convinced the reason they won’t operate is because they are covering up for their previous colleagues’ mistakes.” 
Dr Jean Turner, of the Scottish Patients’ Association, yesterday demanded the NHS reconsider the case, or alternatively pay for Mrs Toms to receive the operation in England. She added: “Professor Fullarton is a highly competent person. I would have trusted his judgment. I hate to think that there is someone in this situation and there is no attempt by the NHS to try and do something to make her feel better.” 
Meanwhile, Conservative health spokesman MSP Jackson Carlaw called on the Scottish Government to step in, adding: “Ultimately, at the heart of this case is a human story of a mother doing everything she can to be there for her daughter’s future. 
This is a story oft repeated that errors, mistakes and oversights may be buried with the patient.
This is the Express with their follow-up story –
Following a week-long battle with politicians and health chiefs, Pauline Toms, who is suffering from a rare digestive illness, will now be sent to a specialist centre to receive vital surgery. 
The 45-year-old had been left devastated after public health minister Michael Matheson admitted the NHS had made "very significant mistakes" while bizarrely suggesting he had no power to intervene.
And, in a further blow, health board chiefs insulted the former nurse by suggesting she was exaggerating the extent of her serious condition by wrongly insisting she did not require urgent treatment.
But Mrs Toms was told on Friday, just hours after this newspaper contacted Mr Matheson and the NHS, that she would be admitted to a specialist unit south of the Border as soon as possible.
Describing the news as "the best Christmas gift ever", the mother-of-one sobbed: "Thank you to the Sunday Express, I think you might have saved my life.
The NHS has made "very significant mistakes", but the minister says he is powerless to intervene. Not without initiative, Pauline took it upon herself to record the conversation...
At a meeting with Mr Matheson on Monday, which was recorded by Mrs Toms and her relatives, the SNP minister admitted: "It is very clear that there have been very significant mistakes made in your care under NHS Forth Valley."
He added: "I think it would be best for you to go to another health care centre, assessed there and for that to be taken forward as quickly as we can, to get you built up and to get you stabilised."
But they were left stunned when Falkirk West MSP told them he had no influence over the situation and was unable to help.
Mrs Toms explained: "I was begging him saying 'Please don't let me die before Christmas', but he just kept repeating: 'I cannot affect clinical decisions, I do not have that power'.
"I didn't have any backing from him, he just told me there was nothing he could do. I left there in tears."
The minister was sent a copy of the recording...
Mr Matheson was sent a copy of the brutally frank recording and asked why he could not use his senior position to rectify the "significant mistakes" he highlighted at NHS Forth Valley.
Concerned by his views being made public, he bombarded the couple with three calls in a half-an-hour period before sending round his secretary - a friend of Mrs Toms - in an attempt to pacify the situation.
The minister did not want to expose himself in public.
Many of Mrs Toms' supporters staged a protest at Glasgow Royal Infirmary yesterday despite attempts by Dr Murdoch to have it called off at the last moment.
In an email sent to Mrs Toms on Friday, he said: "I understand that a demonstration was planned outside Glasgow Royal Infirmary's premises tomorrow by your supporters and you may wish to review this as care plans have changed at least partially in light of your representations." 
But relieved Mrs Toms insisted it was important Scots continue to unite and stand-up to doctors who refuse treatment.
"I can't believe I've had to go all through this to get the treatment I need and deserve," she continued. 
"I think about all the other people who have been left in a similar position but might not have the family and friends, or the ability to do this. How many people have died because of this? It has to stop."
There is a petition which all may sign. This is at Change.Org

Pauline still needs our support. 

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