Recent news articles indicate that the medical profession now wants the right to decide when someone’s life should be ended.
Currently the suggestion is that they alone are handed the power to stop all artificial support. This includes feeding and hydration of a wide range of ‘disabled’ patients. Stroke, brain damage, terminal illnesses included but also extending to dementia and alzheimers.
A patient’s family apparently should be involved, but the final decision rests with the doctor’s. Even if the family disagreed. After recent Court rulings, the decision is entirely in the hands of medics.
This brings in a new set of problems, originally set in motion by the discredited Liverpool Pathway. This ‘pathway’ was originally intended as a way to alleviate suffering for a terminal patient in their last days or hours. Unfortunately this was apparently seized upon by health professionals as a way to hasten death (and clear beds) even though death was not imminent.
The Do Not Resuscitate notices added to patients notes are often the first indication that basic life support – food and water – are being withdrawn from a ‘dying’ person. Nil By Mouth is sometimes seen without any real reason being apparent. As in our own experience, DNR decisions are made without any reference to the patient or family.
Euthanasia by the back door, as some reporters have called it.
A far cry from the original ‘Do No Harm’ ethos which the medical profession is supposed to adhere to. It is no doubt an idea put forward at first as a compassionate thing to do – alleviate suffering – but which has then been jumped on by those with finance more in mind. Save money by making sure the terminally ill, or those with possible long term disabilities from stroke etc., are removed permanently from the care system as soon as possible.