Free xml sitemap generator Conservative Nation News: UK Hospitals Letting Elderly Patients Die To Cut Costs

Sunday, July 8, 2012

UK Hospitals Letting Elderly Patients Die To Cut Costs

Coming soon to a hospital near you, courtesy of Obama and the Democratic Party

(The Telegraph) -- Hospitals may be depriving elderly patients of food and drink to hasten their deaths as part of cost-cutting measures to free up bed space, leading doctors warn. Tens of thousands of patients with terminal illnesses are placed on a “death pathway” to help end their lives every year.

 However, in a letter to The Daily Telegraph, six doctors warn that hospitals may be using the controversial scheme to reduce strain on hospital resources. Supporters of the Liverpool Care Pathway, which allows medical staff to withhold fluid and drugs in a patient’s final days, claim it is the kindest way of letting them slip away. But the experts say in their letter that natural deaths are often freer of pain and distress.

 Informed consent is not always being sought by doctors, who fail to ask patients about their wishes while they are still in control of their faculties, warn the six.

This has led to an increase in patients carrying cards informing doctors that they do not wish to be put on the pathway in the last few days of their lives.

The six doctors are experts in elderly care and wrote the letter in conjunction with the Medical Ethics Alliance, a Christian medical organisation. They say that many members of the public have contacted them with examples of inappropriate use of the pathway, which is implemented in up to 29 per cent of hospital deaths.

They warn that there is no “scientific way of diagnosing imminent death.” They write: “It is essentially a prediction, and it is possible that other considerations may come into reaching such a decision, not excluding the availability of resources.”

 The Liverpool Care Pathway, so called because it was developed at the Royal Liverpool Hospital in the 1990s, aims to ensure that patients who are close to death can die without being subjected to unnecessary interference by staff. In addition to the withdrawal of fluid and medication, patients can be placed on sedation until they die

 Dr Gillian Craig, a retired geriatrician and former vice-chairman of the Medical Ethics Alliance, is one of the six signatories to The Daily Telegraph letter. “If you are cynical about it, as I am, you can see it as a cost-cutting measure, if you don’t want your beds to be filled with old people,” she said.

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