It is all a game of legal consequences.
This is from a Forum thread on the Alzheimer's Society website -
On the 11th May the home rang and said we should all go to the home as Nats was very poorly. We went with him to hospital where he picked up. In fact the paramedic joked with me that if I had that affect on his patients maybe I could spend the rest of the day with him. I sent the kids home telling them that their dad had us there under false pretences.
Nats was taken for a chest x-ray and whilst we were waiting for a porter to take him back to A&E he started fitting on the trolley. It was really bad and I didn't know what to do, I was panicking and calling for help. The porter arrived and quickly pushed him up the corridor with me running behind.
He was taken into resus and given an injection to stop the fitting. He had another four major fits and several minor ones. We were in there five hrs before he eventually stopped and was taken to a ward.
We were told they expected him to recover but it wasn't going to be an over night job and he would probably be in for at least a week. Two days later (Monday) the Dr was talking about the Liverpool Care Plan (the pathway). This was a massive shock to us and we were very upset. However, by Tuesday Nats' blood test showed an improvement in his infection and they decided to try tube feeding him. This was unsuccessful as he couldn't swallow the tube but they were to try again the next day.
So I arrived on Wednesday full of hope only to be taken into a dump of a room (a story for another time) to be told again they were considering the LCP. By Thursday another doctor tells us there is nothing more they can do for Nats and with immediate effect all his tubes,drips and oxygen are removed.
Nats is taken into hospital because he is very poorly but then improves.
Following a chest x-ray, awaiting return to A&E, Nats begins fitting on the trolley. He is rushed to resus and given an injection to stop the fitting.
Nats suffers four more major fits and further minor ones before he is moved onto ward.
Nats is expected to recover but it will take time.
The doctor mentions the LCP two days after, but Nats' bloods show an improvement in his infection and a decision to tube feed is taken the following day. This is unsuccessful as Nats cannot swallow the tube, but they will try again the following day.
The following day, Nats has been moved to a side room and they are again considering LCP.
The day following this, all treatment ceases and tubes, drips and oxygen are removed.
Everything that can be done ceases to be done because of what, apparently, cannot be done.
Nats is not dying and so all the 'impediments' to dying cease to ensure that Nats does die.
This is euthanasia.
I am not here debating the rights and wrongs of euthanasia. It is clear, however, that in Nats' case and in a myriad other like cases where these or similar circumstances are repeated...
This is euthanasia.
The LCP is a euphemism, a 'legal cover', to permit euthanasia to proceed.
If a spade looks like a spade, it very likely is a spade. To hesitate or to refrain from calling it that has more to do with the legal consequences than with social etiquette.
This is Nats' story:
- Blog Entries
If a spade looks like a spade...
According to a submission published on PubMed, entitled "Prevalence of formal accusations of murder and euthanasia against physicians" -
Over half of the respondents had had at least one experience in the last 5 years in which a patient's family, another physician, or another health care professional had characterized palliative treatments as being euthanasia, murder, or killing. One in four stated that at least one friend or family member, or a patient had similarly characterized their treatments. Respondents rated palliative sedation and stopping artificial hydration/nutrition as treatments most likely to be misconstrued as euthanasia. Overall, 25 physicians (4%) had been formally investigated for hastening a patient's death when that had not been their intention-13 while using opiates for symptom relief and six for using medications while discontinuing mechanical ventilation. In eight (32%) cases, another member of the health care team had initiated the charges.
Interestingly, it is professionals as well as lay people who make these accusations.
... it very likely is a spade.