That Glorious, Magnificent, Cute-As-A-Button National Health Service

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on September 9, 2009

As part of a continuing series, we now have this horror story:

The daughter of a stroke victim claims that her father is to be wrongly placed on an NHS scheme for the terminally ill which experts say is causing some patients to die too soon.

Rosemary Munkenbeck says her father Eric Troake, who entered hospital after suffering a stroke, had fluid and drugs withdrawn and she claims doctors wanted to put him on morphine until he passed away under a scheme for dying patients called the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP).

Mrs Munkenbeck, 56, from Bracknell, said her father, who previously said he wanted to live until he was 100, has now said he wants to die after being deprived of fluids for five days.

Along with her sister Jocelyn Troake, 60, who lived in Bermuda until recently moving to Frimley, Surrey, to care full time for her father and her mother Edna, 93, they are convinced their father is a victim of the system.

Last week The Daily Telegraph reported a warning from experts that some patients with terminal illnesses were being wrongly put on the NHS scheme and allowed to die prematurely if they ticked “the right boxes”.

UPDATE: And then there is this:

Doctors left a premature baby to die because he was born two days too early, his devastated mother claimed yesterday.

Sarah Capewell begged them to save her tiny son, who was born just 21 weeks and five days into her pregnancy – almost four months early.

They ignored her pleas and allegedly told her they were following national guidelines that babies born before 22 weeks should not be given medical treatment.

Miss Capewell, 23, said doctors refused to even see her son Jayden, who lived for almost two hours without any medical support.

She said he was breathing unaided, had a strong heartbeat and was even moving his arms and legs, but medics refused to admit him to a special care baby unit.

Miss Capewell is now fighting for a review of the medical guidelines.

[. . .]

She said: ‘When he was born, he put out his arms and legs and pushed himself over.

A midwife said he was breathing and had a strong heartbeat, and described him as a “little fighter”.

I kept asking for the doctors but the midwife said, “They won’t come and help, sweetie. Make the best of the time you have with him”.’

[. . .]

She said she was told that because she had not reached 22 weeks, she was not allowed injections to try to stop the labour, or a steroid injection to help to strengthen her baby’s lungs.

Instead, doctors told her to treat the labour as a miscarriage, not a birth, and to expect her baby to be born with serious deformities or even to be still-born.

She told how she begged one paediatrician, ‘You have got to help’, only for the man to respond: ‘No we don’t.’

As her contractions continued, a chaplain arrived at her bedside to discuss bereavement and planning a funeral, she claims.

She said: ‘I was sitting there, reading this leaflet about planning a funeral and thinking, this is my baby, he isn’t even born yet, let alone dead.’

After his death she even had to argue with hospital officials for her right to receive birth and death certificates, which meant she could give her son a proper funeral.

The words “utterly barbaric” don’t even begin to describe this kind of behavior.

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