Two Controversial Stories: Two.

The second of my two controverial stories on Liverpool will focus on a more recent issue than my last; the Liverpool Care Pathway for Dying Patients. The desciption of the LCP from their website is this:

                       The LCP is an integrated care pathway that is used at the bedside to drive up sustained quality of the dying in the last hours and days of life. It is a means to transfer the best quality for care of the dying from the hospice movement into other clinical areas, so that wherever the person is dying there can be an equitable model of care.

– The Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute

In their final days, they provide the best possible care for the dying and their families, to make sure they are comfortable and taken care of. However, this is filled with controvery; an article posted on the dailymail website, published by Steve Doughty (Social Affairs Correspondent) states that the program is just a way to ‘hasten death’, stating:

                                              Several families have been shocked to find  that their loved ones have been put on the pathway – which involves the  withdrawal of food and fluids as well as medical treatment – without their  consent. The average lifespan of a patient on the  pathway is 29 hours. Yet, some patients who were taken off the pathway at the  insistence of their relatives have lived for several months.

 Steve Doughty

It’s easy to see what makes this story so controverial; a patient can be put on the pathway without consent, and it seriously shortens the little time they have left. However, many Doctors still insist that the pathway is a good thing for patients, and that it brings them the best possible care for their final days. Senior Cancer Doctor Mark Glaser accused the NHS of using this pathway to ‘clear beds and achieve targets’, showing that even other Doctors are against the pathway. But against all these claims, the supports still claim that it is providing the best possible care for those suffering and poor, and strongly deny it as a form of Euthenasia, which itself is a very controversial topic.

This controverial story has developed over the past couple weeks, and is still developing, so it’s unlikely that we’ll find out what happens to the Liverpool Care Pathway for a few weeks. All I can say, is that if I were on my death bed, I would at least like to be given the choice to be placed on the pathway, because if this is being done without consent, what makes it any different from murder?



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