This will make you sick to your stomach. According to the Mail Online:
Up to 60,000 patients die on the Liverpool Care Pathway each year without giving their consent, shocking figures revealed yesterday.
A third of families are also kept in the dark when doctors withdraw lifesaving treatment from loved ones.
Despite the revelations, Jeremy Hunt last night claimed the pathway was a ‘fantastic step forward’.
In comments that appeared to prejudge an official inquiry into the LCP, the Health Secretary said ‘one or two’ mistakes should not be allowed to discredit the entire end-of-life system …
The review follows a public outcry over a string of disturbing cases, highlighted by this paper, in which patients or their families were ignored.
The pathway involves withdrawal of lifesaving treatment, with the sick sedated and usually denied nutrition and fluids. Death typically takes place within 29 hours …
Records from 178 hospitals also show that thousands of people on the pathway are left to die in pain because nurses do not do enough to keep them comfortable while drugs are administered.
An estimated 130,000 patients are put on the pathway each year.
Concerns have been raised that clinical judgments are being skewed by incentives for hospitals to use the pathway.
Health trusts are thought to have been rewarded with an extra £30million for putting more patients on the LCP.
Critics say it is a self-fulfilling prophecy because there is no scientific method of predicting when death will come.
Norman Lamb, the care services minister, launched a review in November, saying there had been too many cases of families not being consulted.
But Mr Hunt yesterday suggested that concerns about the system were relatively minor compared with its benefits.
‘It’s a fantastic step forward, the Liverpool Care Pathway, and we need to be unabashed about that because it’s basically designed to bring hospice-style care to terminally-ill people in hospitals,’ he told LBC Radio:
‘I would be very sad if as a result of something that is a big step forward going wrong in one or two cases we discredited the concept that we need to do a lot better to give people dignity in their final hours because it’s something we haven’t done well.”
It is just cheaper to kill people off, rather than give them treatment, and with costs and national budgets given priority rather than quality of care and human life, this result is natural and even welcomed by many supporters of nationalized healthcare–even in the US. To quote former Colorado governor Richard Lamm:
Elderly people who are terminally ill have a ”duty to die and get out of the way” instead of trying to prolong their lives by artificial means … People who die without having life artificially extended are similar to ”leaves falling off a tree and forming humus for the other plants to grow up,” the Governor told a meeting of the Colorado Health Lawyers Association at St. Joseph’s Hospital. ”You’ve got a duty to die and get out of the way … Let the other society, our kids, build a reasonable life.”
And of course there is Paul Krugman:
Both men tried to walk back their comments later on, but what were they talking about, if not curtailing care for people believed to be beyond hope by some bureaucrat or accountant?