Thursday, April 04, 2013

Liverpool Care Pathway

This so called Liverpool Care Pathway is a travesty of all that the NHS is supposed to stand for and makes a mockery of the word "care".

My mother died in January 2010 and I now realise that she was effectively put on this diabolical scheme without our knowing then, that this was what it was. We were led to believe that nothing more could be done although following a discussion at the request of the family with doctors, they affirmed that they were unable to diagnose the precise cause of her condition. They could only surmise that it was due to a mixture  of undefined causes due to old age. She was 85 and although she had leukaemia, we were told that many people lived normal lives with her condition with appropriate treatment and that it alone would not cause death.

Some weeks before she had had a fall in the garden but apart from bruising seemed none the worse for wear. A couple of days later she felt ill during the night and my father called an ambulance and she was admitted to hospital. 

She appeared to be responding well but under the influence of painkillers tried to get out of bed right in front of the nurses station to go to the toilet and fell, breaking her hip. She underwent surgery and again responded well. Unbelievably, a day or two later, whilst in a private ward at the Musgrove Hospital in Taunton and again heavily drugged, she attempted to get out of bed to go to the toilet and inevitably fell again, necessitating a second operation! 

Again she recovered remarkably well and three weeks later went home, managing to climb the stairs and getting around surprisingly well all things considered.

Some three weeks later she felt very ill and was readmitted to hospital and was never to leave. During the last seven to ten days, the family felt it was necessary to mount a 24/7 vigil at her bedside to ensure she was properly cared for. The best care came from agency nurses whose compassion, skill and dedication was notable by comparison to some of the permanent nurses.

My mother was a lovely, courageous and much loved lady. She was not given the opportunity to decide for herself whether or not she wanted to continue eating and drinking. A decision was made by the medical staff and meals ceased forthwith.

This is not care. This is politicians and doctors playing God and it is abhorrent and reprehensible. This is euthanasia in everything but name. When the life of the sick and elderly is treated with such cold blooded indifference it is no surprise that respect and standards of care suffer drastically as a consequence.

Ask yourself why the Liverpool Care Pathway was ever conceived of in the first place? What was wrong with NHS care that necessitated the introduction of this sinister scheme? Surely it was and is the duty of doctors and nurses to give the sick and dying the best care possible at all times anyway! Why do we need a special scheme? It is utterly ludicrous and totally unnecessary.

This scheme is a political and medical sham and whoever was responsible for it should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. It should be buried unceremoniously and never be spoken of or practised again.

Needless to say, although the doctors could not make a clear diagnosis while my mother was in hospital, they had no apparent difficulty stating the cause of death on the death certificate! I never understood that.

Lastly, those who invented this scheme should remember that one day, they may well be faced by it's consequences. Starvation is extremely unpleasant and cruel. The poor patients however are in no condition to express their pain. This is not care. It's torture in the name of saving money and meeting targets. It's disgusting.

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