Thursday, September 3, 2009

Death Panels In The UK

From the London Telegraph:

Sentenced to death on the NHS
Patients with terminal illnesses are being made to die prematurely under an NHS scheme to help end their lives, leading doctors have warned.

Some exerpts:

“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."

The warning comes just a week after a report by the Patients Association estimated that up to one million patients had received poor or cruel care on the NHS.

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

Designed to reduce paitent suffering for sure!

Dr Hargreaves...added that some patients were being “wrongly” put on the pathway, which created a “self-fulfilling prophecy” that they would die.

He said: “I have been practising palliative medicine for more than 20 years and I am getting more concerned about this “death pathway” that is coming in.

“It is supposed to let people die with dignity but it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Patients who are allowed to become dehydrated and then become confused can be wrongly put on this pathway.”...

He said that he had personally taken patients off the pathway who went on to live for “significant” amounts of time and warned that many doctors were not checking the progress of patients enough to notice improvement in their condition.

But I bet it saves dollars and pension benefits!

Prof Millard said that it was “worrying” that patients were being “terminally” sedated, using syringe drivers, which continually empty their contents into a patient over the course of 24 hours.

In 2007-08 16.5 per cent of deaths in Britain came about after continuous deep sedation, according to researchers at the Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, twice as many as in Belgium and the Netherlands.

“If they are sedated it is much harder to see that a patient is getting better,” Prof Millard said.

To put those numbers another way, one in every six deaths in the United Kingdom came about after deep sedation. Considering they like to put so many people under, they probably don't get too many nagging patient complaints.

I SEE DEAD PEOPLE! Sphere: Related Content


Jeff said...

We cannot move toward a health care system like Britians. We do need health care reform though. We cannot stay on the path we're on. We can't afford it. 77 million babyboomers are moving into Medicare age. The system will break the country, which is already broke. Hard decisions are going to have to be made. Probably higher taxes, means testing of benefits, and higher premiums. Not sure. I can't say a public option for the poor is a bad idea. It's just that once the government gets in nobody can really compete with them. Some companies will jetison their health benefits all together knowing their empolyees can go to the government. Eventually, the public option will have a majority of the people and private health care will get expensive and exclusive.

The biggest challenge is in doctors. With the profession already short how do you provide care for an added 40 million more? The lines would be long and medical drugs, procedures and certain kinds of care would be rationed.

Shakes The Clown said...

We do need reform. You make a great point about the doctor shortage.

The first thing we need is market influence. We need price menus of some sort. We need to know which decisions influence costs and in what way.

We also need tort reform and a way of getting legal costs in line. I am also in favor of letting people go across state lines.

First and foremost though I think we need to see the prices of procedures.