8:15 am in Uncategorized by BigFurHat
Hospitals may be depriving elderly patients of food and drink to hasten their deaths as part of cost-cutting measures to free up bed space, leading doctors warn.
ens of thousands of patients with terminal illnesses are placed on a “death pathway” to help end their lives every year. However, in a letter to The Daily Telegraph, six doctors warn that hospitals may be using the controversial scheme to reduce strain on hospital resources.
Supporters of the Liverpool Care Pathway, which allows medical staff to withhold fluid and drugs in a patient’s final days, claim it is the kindest way of letting them slip away. But the experts say in their letter that natural deaths are often freer of pain and distress.
Informed consent is not always being sought by doctors, who fail to ask patients about their wishes while they are still in control of their faculties, warn the six. This has led to an increase in patients carrying cards informing doctors that they do not wish to be put on the pathway in the last few days of their lives.