U.K. Politician Gives Gut-Wrenching Account of Husband’s Final Treatment by NHS: ‘Normalization of Cruelty’
News out of the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) is becoming increasingly disturbing, beginning to sound more like communist China than our accented allies across the pond. The healthcare system that ObamaCare was largely modeled after, report after report indicates that care is now being rationed (whether by design or not), and the weakest among them appear to be receiving the least care.
Following the horrifying admission of an NHS doctor that he’s cut off medicine, food, and water to the elderly and infants with disabilities, putting them on what has become known as “death pathways,” a British politician is speaking out about her husband’s final treatment.
Though he was not starved to death because of his age, MP Ann Clwyd’s husband’s “care” essentially consisted of being left alone in a too-small bed with a too-small oxygen mask blistering his face, Clwyd said.
The U.K.’s generally left-leaning Guardian first reported:
Ann Clwyd has said her biggest regret is that she didn’t “stand in the hospital corridor and scream” in protest at the “almost callous lack of care” with which nurses treated her husband as he lay dying in the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
Clwyd, the Labour MP for Cynon Valley since 1984 and Tony Blair’s former human rights envoy to Iraq, told the Guardian she fears a “normalisation of cruelty” is now rife among NHS nurses. She said she had chosen to speak out because this had become “commonplace”.
Describing how her 6’2” husband lay crushed “like a battery hen” against the bars of his hospital bed with an oxygen mask so small it cut into his face and pumped cold air into his infected eye, Clwyd said nurses treated the dying man with “coldness, resentment, indifference and even contempt”.
Owen Roberts died on Tuesday, 23rd October from hospital-acquired pneumonia. The former television director and producer had multiple sclerosis for 30 years and had been in a wheelchair for the previous two years. He had been in the flagship hospital for ten days.
“I have had nightmares about what happened,” said Clwyd, speaking to the Guardian after initially making the claims on BBC Radio 4′s World at One. [Emphasis added]
Here is a BBC report, which includes Clwyd directly addressing Prime Minister David Cameron about the situation during a session of Parliament (skip to about 20 seconds):
Clwyd explained for the BBC that she was ill herself during her husband’s initial days in the hospital, and though she phoned every morning, was not able to be with him. Clwyd was repeatedly assured by the staff that everything was fine, however, and the nurses even told her they saw no reason why her husband shouldn’t be home shortly.
Needless to say, Clwyd was surprised when the hospital called to inform her that her aging husband had contracted pneumonia in the hospital. When she arrived, she said his cramped ward was so cold she had to cover her husband with towels since her requests for more blankets were unfulfilled. Roberts’ bare feet were reportedly hanging off the end of the bed.
The Guardian article continues:
“I can’t believe anybody calling themselves a nurse could fail to give someone who is very ill that kind of attention, but it was completely missing,” Clwyd added. “Nobody should have to die in conditions like I saw my husband die in. I have tried in the past to get Bills through parliament on the welfare of battery hens. My husband died like a battery hen.”
Clwyd, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group, was on the Royal Commission on the NHS and served on the Welsh hospital board. But she said that regardless of her experience and knowledge, she found it impossible to make her voice heard.
“It’s uncomfortable speaking out and I don’t like it but if I couldn’t get anyone to listen to me, how do other people manage it?” she asked. “I want people to know that they can’t leave things to the professionals in the NHS. You have to keep asking questions.”
“I was in on the day before he died from 2.30pm to 10.30pm, and I saw one, single ward round,” she said. “When I did manage to stop a nurse in the corridor – they were usually too busy to stop – I asked why he wasn’t in intensive care.” She added, a nurse “told me ‘there are lots of people worse than him’ and walked off. A few hours later, I asked another nurse if a doctor had been to see him. She said a doctor had been – but not to see Owen, because they knew what to do.
“From what I saw, that consisted of doing nothing,” she added. [Emphasis added]
Clwyd also said that while her husband’s ward was cramped and freezing, the ward across the hall was empty. They reportedly denied her request to move her husband on the day of his death, saying they were saving the area for the next day.
Despite it all, Clwyd appears to remain a supporter of Britain’s “free” healthcare system. She made sure to emphasize this when addressing her complaint to PM Cameron, perhaps aware of the cult-like obsession for the NHS within the U.K. (they even honored it during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics).
The hospital’s executive director of nursing, Ruth Walker, says they take the matter “extremely seriously” and will launch an investigation.
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