Posts Tagged ‘Liverpool Care Pathway’

Liverpool Care Pathway for babies is surely euthanasia but it is not painless

November 29, 2012

I have no doubt that the Care Pathways have the best of intentions to make an inevitable death as painless and comfortable as possible. But at best this is euthanasia and at worst it is something else. The latest article in the Daily Mail’s “campaign”  is more than a little disturbing. If a Care Pathway – by definition – is intended to lead to a dignified and pain-free death then causing additional suffering by being put on the Pathway cannot be right. I am not sure where the ethical line goes but I cannot help feeling that a final painless lethal injection may be preferable to 10 days of starvation and thirst and suffering as feeding and fluids are denied and a baby shrinks to death.

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The Liverpool Care Pathway: Euthanasia? Or is it execution of the elderly – for convenience?

October 17, 2012

An article in The Telegraph caught my eye while watching the US Presidential debate at my hotel.

A rather disturbing development in the UK and I don’t  like the ethics of the situation. Euthanasia is voluntary but I am not sure that the Liverpool Care Pathway is. It is a pathway which leads to the death of the patient /victim in about 33 hours. I wonder who this pathway serves? At first sight it seems to be primarily for the benefit of hospitals and doctors and health care system costs. Perhaps for relatives.

The Telegraph:

Mary Cooper, 79, died a few days after being put on the Liverpool Care Pathway at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, Norfolk.

The pathway, originally designed to ease the suffering of terminally ill cancer patients in their very last days, is being used more and more widely in NHS hospitals.

The idea behind the LCP is to give patients a ‘good death’ by avoiding unnecessary and burdensome medical interventions.

However, there have been accusations it hastens death because it can involve the removal of hydration and nutrition.

The LCP leads over 100,000 people to death every year – just in the UK. It smacks of execution of the elderly for convenience.

Daily Mail:

There are around 450,000 deaths in Britain each year of people who are in hospital or under NHS care. Around 29 per cent – 130,000 – are of patients who were on the LCP. …. Professor Pullicino claimed that far too often elderly patients who could live longer are placed on the LCP and it had now become an ‘assisted death pathway rather than a care pathway’.

An assisted death for someone who does not wish to die is an execution.


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