From The Times:
Daughter saves mother, 80, left by doctors to starve
AN 80-year-old grandmother who doctors identified as terminally ill and left to starve to death has recovered after her outraged daughter intervened.
Hazel Fenton, from East Sussex, is alive nine months after medics ruled she had only days to live, withdrew her antibiotics and denied her artificial feeding. The former school matron had been placed on a controversial care plan ["care plan" having a rather loose meaning here] intended to ease the last days of dying patients.
Doctors say Fenton is an example of patients who have been condemned to death on the Liverpool care pathway plan. They argue that while it is suitable for patients who do have only days to live, it is being used more widely in the NHS, denying treatment to elderly patients who are not dying. [Get that? Read it again.]
Fenton’s daughter, Christine Ball, who had been looking after her mother before she was admitted to the Conquest hospital in Hastings, East Sussex, on January 11, says she had to fight hospital staff for weeks before her mother was taken off the plan and given artificial feeding.
Ball, 42, from Robertsbridge, East Sussex, said: “My mother was going to be left to starve and dehydrate to death. It really is a subterfuge for legalised euthanasia of the elderly on the NHS. ”
Fenton was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia. Although Ball acknowledged that her mother was very ill she was astonished when a junior doctor told her she was going to be placed on the plan to “make her more comfortable” in her last days.
Ball insisted that her mother was not dying but her objections were ignored. A nurse even approached her to say: “What do you want done with your mother’s body?”
On January 19, Fenton’s 80th birthday, Ball says her mother was feeling better and chatting to her family, but it took another four days to persuade doctors to give her artificial feeding.
Fenton is now being looked after in a nursing home five minutes from where her daughter lives.
Peter Hargreaves, a consultant in palliative medicine, is concerned that other patients who could recover are left to die. He said: “As they are spreading out across the country, the training is getting probably more and more diluted.”
A spokesman for East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Patients’ needs are assessed before they are placed on the [plan]. Daily reviews are undertaken by clinicians whenever possible.” [Sooo.... daily reviews are not always possible?]
In a separate case, the family of an 87-year-old woman say the plan is being used as a way of giving minimum care to dying patients.
Susan Budden, whose mother, Iris Griffin, from Norwich, died in a nursing home in July 2008 from a brain tumour, said: “When she was started on the [plan] her medication was withdrawn. As a result she became agitated and distressed.
“It would appear that the [plan] is . . . used purely as a protocol which can be ticked off to justify the management of a patient.”
Deborah Murphy, the national lead nurse for the care pathway, said: “If the education and training is not in place, the [plan] should not be used.” She said 3% of patients placed on the plan recovered.
One of the important points to remember is that food and water are not medicine. A person is a vegetative state remains a human being with the need for what is basic to human life. If people see food and water as medicine, as if that person was receiving them as if they were therapy, then you can more easily argue for their denial. Of course there are situations in which adminstering food and water actually harm a person more than they help. Then hard decisions must be made.
But never forget, and keep yourselves attuned to the basic principles. If food and water are seen as therapy for a bad condition, they can be more easily denied. That is the fundamental error being made in many cases. That is why this statement, the response from the CDF, is so important.
Review THIS. An excerpt about people in persistent vegetative state who are given this "treatment":
So, as you lie there, what is going on in your body? When your body’s fluid supply is severely depleted (because you are taking none in) and down by around 15%, hypovolemic shock or "physical collapse" occurs, that is, your blood supply gets lower and lower until you don’t have enough blood volume to function.
Your skin becomes pale and clammy. Your heart starts to race and your breathing becomes rapid and shallow. Unless you get water soon, it will get harder and harder to reverse your condition. You soon desperately need medical care. Your blood pressure drops so low that sometimes it can’t be detected at all. Then your extremities become blotchy and mottled as your body starts to shut down the periphery, shunting an ever-decreasing volume of available blood to the core, the heart and vital organs.
If you are conscious, your thirst is agony. Your temperature rises and when it hits 107°F (41.7°C), it starts to damage your brain and other organs. Your lips and tongue crack. Your nose bleeds from the dryness of the mucous membranes. You are wracked with pain from the heaving and attempts to vomit. You can’t tell anyone how much you are suffering. Since those around you don’t see your suffering, they think you must not have any pain. This appears to be "merciful."
This is how they purposely kill helpless people. Let dehydration happen to a football player during practice on a hot summer day and everyone goes crazy, pointing fingers and making accusations, filing lawsuits and suing everyone in sight. But this is done daily in the USA and other countries to people who are otherwise healthy, and simply need the love and care that any person with a disability needs. Lock a horse in a stall without food and water and you will go to jail.