Saturday, 3 December 2011

Tough, loving, health-care professionals need support

In response to a number of posts I've published in recent weeks concerning the growing danger to vulnerable patients, put on the Liverpool Care Pathway, of being killed through the Pathway - as a number of doctors and new research have pointed out - I received an eloquent message from one of the visitors to my blog:
Dear John,

Having spent 46 years as a member of the nursing profession I have witnessed many politically-based healthcare changes during that period. One of the many changes that concern me is the of 'end of life' care issue that is purely economicaly based. I worked mainly in the 'care of the elderly' sector for five years before I retired and I particularly felt disturbed by the implemented 'end of life' frameworks that seemed too ambiguous for my liking. I made it clear from day one that I would not implement any of the frameworks when the elderly were in my care. There was a policy whereby the nurse in charge must send for the Advance Practitioners if deterioration occurred which I firmly ignored on one particular occassion when caring for a dying resident who welcomed the tiny amounts of water I placed on his lips whilst I privately prayed the Divine Mercy for him. I firmly agree with Ann Farmer that there is nothing to be gained by asking an elderly, often confused person about their impending death. In my experience elderly people in care often make the comment "I don't want to die". If it is considered to be caring to ask some of the most vulnerable members of our society, who have often worked hard to support their families and have a wisdom that comes with long life where and how they wish to die then we are no longer a nation based on true compassion but rather misguided compassion ... "

Sincerely etc ...
Compassionate, tough, health professionals like my correspondent, who are prepared to protect their patients in defiance of cruel or lethal health care regimes, and who are not afraid to take their Christian faith into the workplace, will not survive in the current political climate in the health care services - unless, as I urged yesterday, we are truly vigilant in the care of our relatives and loved ones.

I say once again: If you are concerned about the treatment somebody you know may be receiving then contact Patients First Network, SPUC's service which confronts the NHS' practise of silent euthanasia. I urge readers to check whether the Pathway is being operated in hospitals, hospices or care homes where you live. If so, please write to the management there and draw their attention courteously to the concerns which continue to be expressed about the Liverpool Care Pathway by leading medical professionals.

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Friday, 2 December 2011

All should check if the Liverpool Care Pathway is operating in their area

The Telegraph has reported this morning that Dr Patrick Pullicino, a consultant neurologist at East Kent University Hospitals, has questioned the current protocol of the Liverpool Care Pathway, a system which thousands of UK NHS patients are placed on each year.

I include below the key elements of their article, which you can read in full on their website.
Dr Patrick Pullicino, a consultant neurologist at East Kent University Hospitals, said it was vital that more information was made available about the use of the Liverpool Care Pathway in the NHS.

He said: "We need to know how frequently it is being used. Data should be released showing the proportion of patients who die in hospital who were on the Liverpool Care Pathway and how many were on it against their will or that of their family."

Tens of thousands of patients with terminal illnesses are being placed on a “death pathway”, almost double the number just two years ago, the Royal College of Physicians has found.

...
In one hospital trust, doctors had conversations with fewer than half of families about the care of their loved one. In a quarter of hospital trusts, discussions were not held with one in three families.

...

In addition to the withdrawal of fluid and medication, patients can be placed on sedation until they pass away. This can mean they are not fed and provided with water and has led to accusations that it hastens death.

...

Kevin Fitzpatrick, spokesman for the campaign group Not Dead Yet, said: “It is very worrying that in any situation less than 100 per cent of families are being consulted before patients are being put on the Liverpool Care Pathway. It is a shock for families to find that out.

“In some situations doctors are prepared to do it without consulting families because they think they know what is best and questions arise as to why they think it is OK to do that. Families have the right to know why a loved one is being put on the LCP.”
Dr Pullicino's comments and the report by the Royal College of Physicians are the latest in a number of high-profile questioning of the controversial scheme. In March this year Dr Clare Walker, the president of the Catholic Medical Association, was quoted saying that euthanasia is being practised widely in the NHS. In September 2009 a group of leading doctors wrote to the Telegraph saying that terminally ill patients were in serious danger of being killed through the pathway. In August 2009 a report by Adam Brimelow, BBC news health correspondent, warned that "there is evidence that some clinicians may already be using continuous deep sedation (CDS), as a form of 'slow euthanasia'". That report echoed the concerns of Dr Adrian Treloar, a senior consultant and lecturer in old age psychiatry, which were published in 2008 in a letter to the British Medical Journal. Dr Treloar stated then that "The Liverpool care pathway (LCP) is the UK’s main clinical pathway of continuous deep sedation and is promoted for roll out across the NHS".

As Alison Davis of No Less Human points out in her paper "The case of Tony Bland", the practice of consigning vulnerable patients to a death pathway stems from the 1992 court ruling against Tony Bland, which resulted in him being dehydrated to death. The government's 2005 Mental Capacity Act extended the possible scope of this practice. The inherent right to life of all patients, whether they are terminally ill or not, must be defended in the face of a war against the weak. As Alison argues:
"What was started in Bland may well end in the direct killing of any sick, disabled or elderly person, on the grounds that such lives have no value. We all have reason to be very afraid."
Dr Pullicino's comments are a reminder for the need to be vigilant in the care of our relatives and loved ones. If you are concerned about the treatment somebody you know may be receiving then contact Patients First Network, SPUC's service which confronts the NHS' practise of silent euthanasia. I urge readers to check whether the Pathway is being operated in hospitals, hospices or care homes where you live. If so, please write to the management there and draw their attention courteously to the concerns which continue to be expressed about the Liverpool Care Pathway by leading medical professionals.

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Thursday, 1 December 2011

MPs support parents in fight against pornographic sex education

reesmogg20111201Members of Parliament joined parents and experts today at Westminster to support a campaign against pornographic sex education programmes in schools.

SPUC's Safe at School organised a packed meeting entitled “Sex education as sexual sabotage”, co-hosted by the Working Party on the Sexualisation of Children under the Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP for North-East Somerset, said that the meeting was “terrifically important. SPUC’s work is of overwhelming importance for our society.” He said that he has met with local parents worried about school-based sex education. Mr Rees-Mogg thanked everyone at the meeting for helping him to inform himself about the issue, which he is taking up with his local authority. High resolution image of Mr Rees-Mogg

petition20111201Following the meeting, Jonathan Evans, MP for Cardiff North, and Andrea Leadsom, MP for South Northamptonshire, joined parents in delivering to the Department of Education a 47,000-signature petition to Michael Gove, the education secretary, calling for sex DVDs to be banned from UK primary schools. High resolution image of petition presentation

reisman20111201During the meeting, Dr Judith Reisman, the global expert on sexology pioneer Dr Alfred Kinsey, took delegates back in time to explain why sex education in schools is so explicit today. Dr Kinsey, starting in the 1940s, invented the myth that children are sexual at birth, a presupposition which underpins material used in sex and relationships education (SRE) today. Dr Reisman said it is child abuse to expose children to sexually-explicit material because of the lasting and uncontrollable effect such exposure can have on children’s developing brains. High-resolution image of Dr Reisman

burrows20111201Mrs Lynette Burrows, a leading commentator on the family and a mother of six children, said: “Sex education has an unaaceptable number of casualties”. She argued that the open promotion of paedophilia in the 1970s is now manifested in a different form, namely pornographic sex education. Both Mrs Burrows and Dr Reisman also argued that school-based sex education was not necessary, as parents throughout the ages have proved themselves competent educators of their children in sexual matters. The rise of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, sexually-transmitted infections and child abuse runs parallel with the rise of sex education by so-called professionals rather than parents. High-resolution image of Mrs Burrows

Safe at School has been calling for parents to be given back this critical role in their children’s lives. Parents around the country are calling Safe at School for support in dealing with their children’s schools, which systematically sideline parents from any knowledge of or involvement in the sex education delivered in the classroom.

Emma Clarke, a Northampton mother of three, said that her son’s behaviour changed radically for the worse after he was exposed to sex education at school. Mrs Clarke, who also runs a charity for child sex abuse victims, said that sex education puts children in a vulnerable position because the material used is basically paedophilic.

Ruth Pond related her experience as a parent governor at a state school in Worksop, where she was kept in the dark about the use of Channel Four’s “Living and Growing” DVD. She was isolated by the school management when she objected to the video; she described the school as “hell-bent” on showing the pornographic material to children.

Participants in the meeting were united in their belief that programmes such as “Living and Growing” went beyond merely explaining the mechanics of sex but actually primed pre-pubescent children for sexual activity.

Members of a range of groups and institutions were present at the meeting, including:
  • Anglican Mainstream (Dr Lisa Nolland)
  • Imam Maulana Shahid Raza Khan (Muslim College in London; World Islamic Mission of Europe)
  • SREIslamic (Yusuf Patel)
  • Islamic Medical Association (Dr A. Majid Katme)
  • Core Issues Trust
  • Lydia Fellowship
  • ACA (Against Child Abuse) (Belinda McKenzie)
  • Family Education Trust (Norman Wells, Dr Trevor Stammers)
  • Anscombe Bioethics Centre (Dr Helen Watt)
  • St Mary's University College, London
  • LIFE (Anne Scanlan)
  • Catholic Women's League (CWL); World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations (WUCWO)
  • Cost of Conscience
  • Morality Forum
  • Prayer for Parliament
  • Women's Federation for World Peace
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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Taya Kennedy, who was born with Down's, is a modelling star

With profuse apologies to the Daily Mail - and I urge you to read their story in full - allow me to lift a substantial quotation from a proud mum, Gemma Andre, speaking about the achievement of her beautiful daughter, Taya Kennedy - both pictured right.

"I always believed my daughter was stunning but I thought, 'I’m her mum. I’m biased,'" she says.

"When the agency rang me and said, 'We want her on our books. She’s absolutely beautiful', I was delighted.

"I asked them if they were aware she had Down’s Syndrome. They said: 'It’s immaterial. We’ve accepted her.' At that moment I burst into tears. I was overjoyed, not so much because Taya was going to be a model. More importantly, she had competed on equal terms with every other child and succeeded ... "

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Monday, 28 November 2011

In Oregon the only help a depressed patient got was a lethal prescription intended to kill him

I urge you to read the succinct, enlightening, tragic letter from Charles J. Bentz, a physician practising medicine in Oregon, published by Times Colonist, an on-line Canadian journal. Physician-assisted suicide is legal in Oregon.

In brief, Dr Bentz's patient, being treated for cancer, became depressed. Dr Bentz's letter concludes: "In most jurisdictions, suicidal ideation is interpreted as a cry for help. In Oregon, the only help my patient got was a lethal prescription intended to kill him. Don't make Oregon's mistake."

Earlier this month I wrote about Dr Philip Nitschke, the president of  Exit International. He was touring the UK leading public meetings and seminars, focusing on advising people how they can commit suicide using a wide range of methods.

Paul Smeaton, my son, attended his public meeting in London Paul and wrote his observations of the meeting (part 1, part II).

Whilst what Paul reports is truly shocking, Dr Bentz's letter underlines the truth of what Wesley Smith, the stalwart anti-euthanasia bioethicist, says about Dr Nitschke and his promotion of suicide methods, not just for the terminally-ill but for anyone:
" ... Nitschke appears to be on the radical edge of the assisted suicide movement - but he's really not."

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