Socialized Medicine: Handing Out Premature Death Sentences

No, this is not a scare-tactic. It is a bonafide news item from the Daily Telegraph over in the United Kingdom.

From Kate Devlin:

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, a group of experts who care for the terminally ill claim that some patients are being wrongly judged as close to death.

Under NHS guidance introduced across England to help doctors and medical staff deal with dying patients, they can then have fluid and drugs withdrawn and many are put on continuous sedation until they pass away.

I’ve actually seen this done in the United States. My family requested that my father be kept sedated until he passed. But we already knew that there was no hope for his recovery and we wanted to make sure that he did not become conscious or feel any pain.

That isn’t always the case over in Britain.

Read on:

But this approach can also mask the signs that their condition is improving, the experts warn.

There is a major difference in a family making a decision and a doctor following a government guideline that was hammered out by bureaucrats who had never been to medical school or even knew the first thing about any particular patient.

Here is the real kicker:

“Forecasting death is an inexact science,”they say. Patients are being diagnosed as being close to death “without regard to the fact that the diagnosis could be wrong.

“As a result a national wave of discontent is building up, as family and friends witness the denial of fluids and food to patients.”

When the government pays the bills, the government makes the decisions. That is what makes socialized medicine so unpalatable to Americans. We want as little government as possible in our lives. Dems and libs seem to have a great deal of difficulty understanding that.

But, even more importantly, it highlights the “end-of-life” concerns that people like Sarah Palin and others have expressed over the past few months:

The scheme, called the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), was designed to reduce patient suffering in their final hours.

Developed by Marie Curie, the cancer charity, in a Liverpool hospice it was initially developed for cancer patients but now includes other life threatening conditions.

It was recommended as a model by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), the Government’s health scrutiny body, in 2004.

It has been gradually adopted nationwide and more than 300 hospitals, 130 hospices and 560 care homes in England currently use the system.

But there are major pitfalls in determining whether a patient is actually entering their final hours. Medications can cause unresponsiveness or unconsciousness. Dehydration can lead to symptoms completely unrelated to the patient’s primary ailment.

Further, poor care can lead to other conditions that can be mistaken for signs of impending death.

As a result, many people are put on the Pathway prematurely.

Just another wonderful contribution to medical care from the practitioners of socialized medicine.

You can access the complete article on-line here:

Sentenced To Death On The NHS
Kate Devlin
Daily Telegraph
September 2, 2009

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