Of the “Death Test” and Death Panels


By Wesley J. Smith

Wesley J. Smith

Wesley J. Smith

When the NHS [the British National Health Service] adopted the “Liverpool Care Pathway” to guarantee quality palliative care, it led to bureaucratic checklist medicine, back door euthanasia, and the terminal sedation dehydration deaths of non-terminally ill patients. It became such a scandal that the LCP had to be scrapped.

Now, technocrats are promoting a “death test” that would supposedly predict when an elderly person would die within 30 days. From the Telegraph story:

Health experts say the checklist will prevent futile and expensive medical treatments which merely prolong suffering. The screening test looks at 29 indicators of health, including age, frailty, illness, mental impairment, previous emergency admissions and heart rate and produces a percentage chance of death within one month and 12 weeks.

Researchers say the aim of Criteria for Screening and Triaging to Appropriate Alternative Care, or CriSTAL for short, is to kick-start frank discussions about end of life care, and minimize the risk of invasive ineffective treatment.


Talk should always be in season, but we know how things go these days. This test would quickly devolve into a pressuring tool to be wielded against families and patients, and ultimately, a bureaucratic check list for denying wanted care.

And by the way, sometimes the “test” would be wrong.

Editor’s note. This appeared at nationalreview.com.