Sick children and even disabled newborn babies, are reportedly being discharged from NHS hospitals in England only to die slowly at home or in hospices in an unfathomable manner. The innocent children are being put on controversial “death pathways,” once only thought to have involved elderly and terminally ill adult patients.
The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), an organization that facilitates end-of-life treatment, is behind the inhumane program. The Daily Mail has learned the process of “withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies.” In other words, patients — young and old — are slowly starved and dehydrated to death.
One doctor, acting as a whistle blower, admitted to starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital in a leading medical journal. The doctor describes it as a 10-day process, during which the baby becomes “smaller and shrunken.”
Roughly 130,000 elderly and terminally ill patients reportedly die on the Liverpool Care Pathway, or “death pathways.” LCP is now being independently investigated at the orders of ministers in England.
The Daily Mail has more details on this tragic story:
The investigation, which will include child patients, will look at whether cash payments to hospitals to hit death pathway targets have influenced doctors’ decisions.
Medical critics of the LCP insist it is impossible to say when a patient will die and as a result the LCP death becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They say it is a form of euthanasia, used to clear hospital beds and save the NHS money.
The use of end of life care methods on disabled newborn babies was revealed in the doctors’ bible, the British Medical Journal.
The previously mentioned doctor wrote of the pain of watching the slow, forced deaths of newborn babies. One baby’s parents decided to put their infant on the “pathway” because of a “lengthy list of unexpected congenital anomalies,” according to the doctor.
Here’s some of what the doctor wrote in the medical journal [emphasis added]:
The voice on the other end of the phone describes a newborn baby and a lengthy list of unexpected congenital anomalies. I have a growing sense of dread as I listen.
The parents want ‘nothing done’ because they feel that these anomalies are not consistent with a basic human experience. I know that once decisions are made, life support will be withdrawn.
Assuming this baby survives, we will be unable to give feed, and the parents will not want us to use artificial means to do so.
Regrettably, my predictions are correct. I realise as I go to meet the parents that this will be the tenth child for whom I have cared after a decision has been made to forgo medically provided feeding.
Like other parents in this predicament, they are now plagued with a terrible type of wishful thinking that they could never have imagined. They wish for their child to die quickly once the feeding and fluids are stopped.
They wish for pneumonia. They wish for no suffering. They wish for no visible changes to their precious baby.
Their wishes, however, are not consistent with my experience. Survival is often much longer than most physicians think; reflecting on my previous patients, the median time from withdrawal of hydration to death was ten days.
After reading the article in the British Medical Journal, Dr. Laura de Rooy, a consultant neonatologist at St. George’s Hospital NHS Trust in London, wrote on the BMJ website: “It is a huge supposition to think they do not feel hunger or thirst.”
“The LCP was devised by the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute in Liverpool for care of dying adult patients more than a decade ago. It has since been developed, with [pediatric] staff at Alder Hey Hospital, to cover children. Parents have to agree to their child going on the death pathway, often being told by doctors it is in the child’s ‘best interests’ because their survival is ‘futile’,” The Daily Mail reports.
Obviously, not everyone agrees. Bernadette Lloyd, a hospice pediatric nurse, wrote to the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health and blasted the use of death pathways for young children.
“The parents feel coerced, at a very traumatic time, into agreeing that this is correct for their child whom they are told by doctors has only has a few days to live,” she wrote. “It is very difficult to predict death. I have seen a reasonable number of children recover after being taken off the pathway.”
She went on: “I have also seen children die in terrible thirst because fluids are withdrawn from them until they die…I witnessed a 14 year-old boy with cancer die with his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth when doctors refused to give him liquids by tube. His death was agonising for him, and for us nurses to watch. This is euthanasia by the backdoor.”
For now the inquiry into the death pathways is ongoing. A Department of Health spokesman said that “End of life care for children must meet the highest professional and clinical standards, and the specific needs of children at the end of their life.”
But as Teresa Lynch, a spokeswoman for the Medical Ethics Alliance, points out: “There are big questions to be answered about how our sick children are dying.”
To read more of the anonymous doctor’s testimony in the British Medical Journal, click here.