By Wesley Smith
Patients are not individuals in centralized healthcare systems. Rather, they become members of checklist categories on bureaucratic check lists. How else explain doctors putting nearly one-half of patients on the Liverpool Care Pathway sedation/dehydration protocol–in which patients are put in comas and denied sustenance–without bothering to tell patients of families.
In other words, patients are being sedated sometimes to death without permission. From the Telegraph story:
Almost half of dying patients placed on the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway are never told that life-saving treatment has been withdrawn, a national audit has found…The new disclosures demonstrate just how routinely hospitals are placing patients on the pathway without informing them that steps which could hasten their death have been taken. The national audit found:
- In 44 per cent of cases when conscious patients were placed on the pathway, there was no record that the decision had been discussed with them.
- For 22 per cent of patients on the pathway, there was no evidence that comfort and safety had been maintained while medication was administered.
- One in three families of the dying never received a leaflet they should have been given to explain the process.
Critics of the pathway – which can involve the withdrawal of drugs, fluids and food, and the administration of powerful pain relief – say it is being used to hasten the deaths of the terminally-ill and elderly, in a form of “back-door euthanasia”.
Not just “powerful pain relief.” Usually, sedated into unconsciousness.
When the time has come to stop trying to sustain life, it should be the patient or family’s choice, not the doctor’s. Moreover, sedation should only be used when necessary, not as a matter of routine, because dying isn’t dead. People have a right to that time with loved one and families. This is Futile Care Theory imposed on a massive scale.
Obamacare’s centralized control will lead to the same types of travesty we see in the NHS. When technocrats rule medicine, the most vulnerable (and expensive) patients pay the price.
Editor’s note. This appeared at Wesley’s great blog.