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Britain’s (Non-Existent) ‘Death Panels’

From the UK’s Telegraph:

Sentenced to death on the NHS

Patients with terminal illnesses are being made to die prematurely under an NHS scheme to help end their lives, leading doctors have warned.

By Kate Devlin, Medical Correspondent
2 Sep 2009

But this approach can also mask the signs that their condition is improving, the experts warn.

As a result the scheme is causing a “national crisis” in patient care, the letter states. It has been signed palliative care experts including Professor Peter Millard, Emeritus Professor of Geriatrics, University of London, Dr Peter Hargreaves, a consultant in Palliative Medicine at St Luke’s cancer centre in Guildford, and four others.

“Forecasting death is an inexact science,”they say. Patients are being diagnosed as being close to death “without regard to the fact that the diagnosis could be wrong.

“As a result a national wave of discontent is building up, as family and friends witness the denial of fluids and food to patients."

The warning comes just a week after a report by the Patients Association estimated that up to one million patients had received poor or cruel care on the NHS.

The scheme, called the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), was designed to reduce patient suffering in their final hours.

Developed by Marie Curie, the cancer charity, in a Liverpool hospice it was initially developed for cancer patients but now includes other life threatening conditions.

It was recommended as a model by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), the Government’s health scrutiny body, in 2004.

It has been gradually adopted nationwide and more than 300 hospitals, 130 hospices and 560 care homes in England currently use the system.

Under the guidelines the decision to diagnose that a patient is close to death is made by the entire medical team treating them, including a senior doctor.

They look for signs that a patient is approaching their final hours, which can include if patients have lost consciousness or whether they are having difficulty swallowing medication.

However, doctors warn that these signs can point to other medical problems.

Patients can become semi-conscious and confused as a side effect of pain-killing drugs such as morphine if they are also dehydrated, for instance.

When a decision has been made to place a patient on the pathway doctors are then recommended to consider removing medication or invasive procedures, such as intravenous drips, which are no longer of benefit.

If a patient is judged to still be able to eat or drink food and water will still be offered to them, as this is considered nursing care rather than medical intervention.

Dr Hargreaves said that this depended, however, on constant assessment of a patient’s condition.

He added that some patients were being “wrongly” put on the pathway, which created a “self-fulfilling prophecy” that they would die.

He said: “I have been practising palliative medicine for more than 20 years and I am getting more concerned about this “death pathway” that is coming in.

“It is supposed to let people die with dignity but it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Patients who are allowed to become dehydrated and then become confused can be wrongly put on this pathway.”

He added: “What they are trying to do is stop people being overtreated as they are dying.

“It is a very laudable idea. But the concern is that it is tick box medicine that stops people thinking.”

He said that he had personally taken patients off the pathway who went on to live for “significant” amounts of time and warned that many doctors were not checking the progress of patients enough to notice improvement in their condition.

Prof Millard said that it was “worrying” that patients were being “terminally” sedated, using syringe drivers, which continually empty their contents into a patient over the course of 24 hours.

In 2007-08 16.5 per cent of deaths in Britain came about after continuous deep sedation, according to researchers at the Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, twice as many as in Belgium and the Netherlands

Don’t worry. It can’t happen here.

Mr. Obama has promised.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, September 3rd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

9 Responses to “Britain’s (Non-Existent) ‘Death Panels’”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “Patients can become semi-conscious and confused as a side effect of pain-killing drugs…”

    —Thus the REAL reason the boy-king said what he did about “giving the pain pill”

  2. BannedbytheTaliban says:

    “In 2007-08 16.5 per cent of deaths in Britain came about after continuous deep sedation, according to researchers at the Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, twice as many as in Belgium and the Netherlands…”

    And when that happens to Michael Jackson it is manslaughter. Sounds like they are practicing doctor assisted suicide without the patient’s consent, wrapped in the packaging of end of life counseling. So no, Obama is not going to pull the plug on Grandma. He is going to deprive her of fluids and food until she becomes incoherent, declare her to be approaching her final hours, then give her an over dose of sedatives. Is it not grand when absolute power corrupts absolutely?

  3. BigBad says:

    Obi-Wan Obama says: These are not the death-panels you are looking for.

  4. proreason says:

    “However, doctors warn that these signs can point to other medical problems.”

    like consuming resources that could be better re-allocated to liberal causes.

  5. wardmama4 says:

    You know what about a year or two after abortion became the new lawright of the land – a Dr wrote that he had become so bothered by doing abortions that he started doing autopsies on the bodies – and found that 60% of the aborted deformed/genetic condition diagnosed babies were 100% ok – He stopped doing abortions.

    Sounds like these Drs got bothered by doing mercy killings for the State and took it upon themselves to look into the real situation.

    It is a shame that on the one side we have lying liars who lie (here at the latest Town Hall – we had Moveon.org people urging the college students to ‘sign up for free healthcare’ which was actually a petition to support Obamacare) and people who aren’t opposed to reform – but want 1) facts and 2) mostly want to start simple and small rather than gut and destroy the whole system.

    I heard it best today – this is going to be the final nail in the coffin to make America socialist/fascist/communist/pick your own ist by establishing the last and most profound infrastructure into our once Free and Individual Liberty Constitutional system.

    Won’t be any going back – We need to fight it now. Before it’s too late.

  6. Lisa22 says:

    When I pointed out how bad the UK health care system was on a friend’s facebook, she emailed me and said that a doctor friend of hers promised she would be able to keep her health care insurance. I said ‘How? The government will undercut the insurance companies and drive them out of business in six months. Then the government will have to ration health care to the elderly and disabled. There just won’t be enough money, no matter how much you tax people.” I never heard back from her.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      Maybe the UK Medical Corps latched onto her site and she was “scrubbed” out.

    • proreason says:

      There is no doubt that every small business in the country will immediately drop employer provided insurance as soon as government subsidized insurance is available.

      For larger businesses, they all have their plans in place already. The only thing that will slow them down from instant conversion to the government plans is that it will take a while for the government plan to reach scale.

      The whole argument that the government plan will compete with private insurance is a distraction from what will really happen. There will be such a large financial benefit for any business to convert, that all will so so at the very first opportunity. There will be no competition at all.

      Or maybe somebody believes that businesses will continue to spend more on their private plans because they have the welfare of their employees at heart. Jeez.

      What kind of dopes believe this shit?

  7. Lisa22 says:

    Liberals Demise, no kidding!! Maybe that is what happened.

    Proreason, I know – when I tell people the facts they just don’t think that will happen in the U.S. I’m like, “yes it can!” Sometimes I think people are like lemmings and they just all follow each other or something.

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