Thursday, 25 April 2013
The Liverpool Care Pathway
However it is a fact that the Government has awarded a certain amount to Hospices for palliative care. This is to alleviate the suffering and pain experienced by terminally ill patients. Now the worry is that there is a very fine line between rendering palliative care and practising the Liverpool Care Pathway which requires the withholding of food and water and indeed painkillers where it is deemed that the patient will not, in any case survive.
Palliative care should be rendered to those suffering terminal diseases but this does not mean that those with cancer and similar diseases should be denied food and water and dignified comfort. The Liverpool Care Pathway is it seems, a euphemism for euthanasia which is still a crime, illegal in this country. It leaves patients at the mercy of hospital staff and family. Many suggest that this is O.K. on condition that the family have been informed. This is most unacceptable and dangerous. Many families, it is sad to say, would welcome the enforced departure of their elderly members and the State should recognise this and behave in an ethical and protective way.
The elderly are most vulnerable and The Liverpool Care Pathway is not the way to deal with the problems of the terminally ill elderly who, if we are not careful, will fall victim to the unscrupulous many of whom regard the elderly as an unwelcome burden on society.