A British physician has recounted in an article the British Medical Journal entitled “How It Feels To Withdraw Feeding from Newborn Babies,” that National Health Service (NHS) hospitals in Great Britain are sending sick or severely disabled neonates to their homes or to hospices to die of starvation or dehydration.
Newborns are being being placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway for end-of-life care, a system originally allotted and designed for elderly or terminally ill adults. That end-of-life care involves the removal of food and hydration tubes, a method which can take an average of ten days to result in death.
“I know, as they cannot, the unique horror of witnessing a child become smaller and shrunken, as the only route out of a life that has become excruciating to the patient or to the parents who love their baby,” the doctor writes. “I reflect on how sanitised this experience seems within the literature about making this decision.”
The doctor dispelled the notion that the children die without suffering. “Survival is often much longer than most physicians think. Parents and care teams are unprepared for the sometimes severe changes that they will witness in the child’s physical appearance as severe dehydration ensues.”
The Daily Mail reports that not only newborns and infants, but also children are being placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway. “The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) for children has been developed in the North West, where the LCP itself was pioneered in the 1990s. It involves the discharge to home or to a hospice of children who are given a document detailing their end-of-life care.”
One seen by the Mail, called Liverpool Pathway for the Dying Child is issued by the Royal Liverpool Children’s NHS Trust in conjunction with the flagship children’s hospital, Alder Hey. It includes check boxes, filled out by hospital doctors, on medicines, nutrients and fluids to be stopped.
The LCP was devised by the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute in Liverpool for dying adult patients more than a decade ago. It has since been developed, with pediatric staff at Alder Hey Hospital, to cover children.
Parents have to agree to their child going on the death pathway, often being told by doctors it is in the child’s best interest because his or her survival is futile. The other consideration thought to be driving such recommendations is the desire to save money.
Bernadette Lloyd, a hospice pediatric nurse, has written to the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health to criticize the use of death pathways for children. She said: “The parents feel coerced, at a very traumatic time, into agreeing that this is correct for their child whom they are told by doctors has only has a few days to live. It is very difficult to predict death. I have seen a reasonable number of children recover after being taken off the pathway.
“I have also seen children die in terrible thirst because fluids are withdrawn from them until they die.
“I witnessed a 14-year-old boy with cancer die with his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth when doctors refused to give him liquids by tube. His death was agonizing for him, and for us nurses to watch. This is euthanasia by the backdoor.”
On Nov. 25, according to the Daily Mail, ministers ordered an independent inquiry into why hospitals have been paid to achieve targets for the number of patients dying on the Liverpool Care Pathway. The decision was made after a summit at Whitehall between ministers, doctors in favor of LCP, and critics. An independent chairman will be selected. Critics have insisted that the chairman should be a member of the Judiciary. Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said the inquiry will report back to him in the New Year.
The new investigation will examine how hospitals have received tens of millions of pounds to implement the controversial system for care of the dying. Lamb said, “We are doing an analysis to focus on the circumstances under which these payments have been made.”
Lamb said there had been too many cases of patients dying on the Pathway while their families were told nothing about the withdrawal of life-saving treatment. “This is simply unacceptable,” he added. Lamb said the inquiry would consider the value of locally set incentives, and whether they are leading to bad decisions or practice.
The decision to order an independent investigation follows deepening concern over the LCP, which is thought to be used in the deaths of 130,000 hospital patients each year.
Pingback: U.K. Ministers Launch Investigation of Liverpool Care Pathway, Doctor Testifies Blair’s LCP Is Used To Commit Infanticide | theraineyview
Atheism in action.
These people need to be taken to Court as serial killers.
“I have seen a reasonable number of children recover after being taken off the pathway.”
Toad would have thought That “one” would be a “reasonable number,” to make Bernadette’s point.
Very curious expression she uses.
If “one” is not a reasonable number, what is?
Five? Ten? Fifty’ A hundred? Too many to remember?
Why didn’t she say, “I’ve seen at least four cases,” or whatever?
Toad doubts that killing babies is a prerequisite for atheism.
Was Herod one?
Yesterday, I took “end of life” instructions from two clients – husband and wife – and I asked them, as is the usual practise:
“Do you want to include a clause telling your Attorney to cease life support when it is clear to your doctors that you are going to die?” (Please understand, this is a simplification of the actual question and the subsequent exchange).
One, a cradle Catholic, said no. His wife, a Catholic convert – said yes.
Which led me to think and consider with them them, hypothetically – keeping in mind that all three of us are devout Catholics – whether this scenario presents a problem:
If you are certainly going to die within a day or two, for whatever reason, is it acceptable to God that you instruct your doctors to immediately remove, before your death, vital and viable organs (your heart, for instance) for transplant?
The pont being: is such an instruction to one”s doctors a case of suicide, or a case laying down one’s life for a friend?
I’m thinking Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe here.
…and Jn 15:13
The problem is nothing is ever certain. And virtually nothing can be proved.
And that is where the issue often lies with those who see certainty where there is none. I would go cheerfully along with the wife of the couple in question.
Pragmatism for me. Natch.