This week, the Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group, convened by Lynda, together with Voice for Justice UK, have launched in Parliament their latest Report, When End of Life Care Goes Wrong. It tackles head on what is shockingly becoming a culture of death in the UK health service.
Every day, following admission to hospitals, hospices, or care homes, vulnerable people are suffering an untimely death, after being judged by those charged with their care as at the ‘end of life’. Some such patients of course really are facing their last days or hours, but equally some are not. Some are elderly … but some are not. The youngest patient included in our Report was a girl of 21, with learning difficulties, who was admitted for routine eye surgery and was then incomprehensibly starved to death, after the doctors announced she was dying. Her death took three and a half weeks, and the death certificate, obtained after a Coroner’s Inquiry called for by her grieving family, put down as cause … malnutrition.
Such patients, given proper care and treatment and not just written off, would without question rally, or even recover completely … and then go home, to live out the rest of their lives.
Perhaps it seems unbelievable, when you read this. After all, medical professionals are the closest thing to angels that we have! But as our new Report shows, misdiagnoses and mis-assessments are all too common. This, combined with the chilling decision that the quality of a patient’s life is not worth preserving, is fatal – a death sentence from which it is almost impossible to appeal. The shocking truth is that far too many vulnerable and/or elderly patients, with or without their or their family’s agreement, are finding themselves, on admission, subject to a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR). Thereafter, it is but a short step to the withdrawal of medication/antibiotics, combined with the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration. After which, the result becomes inevitable.
To die from dehydration is one of the cruellest deaths possible, yet routinely this is what is happening to vulnerable patients, whose personal wishes are being over-ridden, and the protests of their families ignored.
Read our Report and discover for yourselves what really goes on in some of our hospitals, hospices, and care homes. And be aware that one day this may happen to you or your loved ones.
But don’t just be shocked! Let’s do something about it. Sign our petition and then write to your MP, demanding that this callous and inhumane treatment of the vulnerable, and especially the elderly, end. Demand proper regulation and reform.
As a society, let us choose life over death. And, knowing that we all one day have to cross that bar, let us with love, respect and compassion, care for those in their last days.
Order the Report on our website, here:
Price £13.99, £5 postage