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Liverpool Care Pathway creating a “national crisis”

A group of doctors who care for the terminally ill claim that some patients are being wrongly judged as close to death.

Under NHS guidance, known as the Liverpool Care Pathway, which was introduced across England to help doctors and medical staff deal with dying patients, terminally ill patients can have fluid and drugs withdrawn and many are put on continuous sedation until they pass away.

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

As a result the scheme is causing a “national crisis” in patient care, the letter to The Telegraph states. It has been signed by palliative care experts including Professor Peter Millard, Emeritus Professor of Geriatrics, University of London, Dr Peter Hargreaves, a consultant in Palliative Medicine at St Luke’s cancer centre in Guildford, and four others.

“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.”

Read more at The Telegraph.

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One Response to “Liverpool Care Pathway creating a “national crisis””

  1. JE says:

    The incidents of this pathway being applied to patients who are not terminal nor in terminal stages or diseases or in pain is suprisingly high.

    This article provides some examples:

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/secondhandsmoke/2009/10/11/liverpool-care-pathway-uk-deadly-danger-of-treating-patients-as-category-members-instead-of-individuals/

    British law is at fault for allowing doctors to apply this involuntary euthanasia pathway when the patient or their family do not want them to be put to sleep. UK law is breaking the Human Rights Act.

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