And the crucial point about euthanasia

This is so crucial that no new attempts to set up this sort of pathway should be made until we have research showing it is possible to accurately diagnose impending death. Until then, as Neuberger said, good quality compassionate care should be given without any pathway.

We can’t identify who is about to die. So, how can we have a treatment system for those identified as about to die?

The section on hydration in the Nice document is a disaster of misinformation, distortion and ambiguity with at least one major error. It says that “death is unlikely to be hastened by not having clinically assisted hydration”. This is completely untrue. Not giving hydration is certain to kill someone if they can’t take hydration by mouth. There is no mention of nutrition in the Nice document.

15 thoughts on “And the crucial point about euthanasia”

  1. The guidelines are not about the patient, but defraying the expense of keeping the patient alive. The NHS was set up as a Stalinist construct. 70 years on, the Gulag spirit is asserting as ever.

  2. Whether you’re ill or dying you want to be as comfortable as possible ie adequate tailored pain relief, hydrated so no parched throat and cracked lips, in clean sheets with a designated carer to check this is happening. Not rocket science and not part of the NHS approach.

  3. @KR Lohse,

    What proportion of lifetime healthcare costs are spent in the last 6 months of life? Can’t recall if it’s 30% or 50%. Either way, don’t let the facts get in the way of self-reinforcing, fact-free polemic.

    The only, only, crucial point about euthanasia is the consent of the person being euthanised. The rest of the end-of-life care ignorance spew is totally irrelevant, especially in the UK where assisting suicide is still illegal in all circumstances. If I am brain dead in a hospital bed I can’t consent to euthanasia, but I likewise don’t consent to be treated and nourished, and hydrated, and generally kept alive artificially to bring peace to the souls of lapsed Catholics. But no one ever thinks to ask the (effectively) dead and dying if they consent to treatment, just assume that they should be kept in suspended animation at great expense for as long as possible.

  4. @ljh,

    Everything is so simple to those with zero experience of how healthcare works. Hydration is bugger all to do with cracked lips and parched throats – we are talking about people incapable of swallowing – on at best a nasogastric tube if not TPN.

    How many times a day should the doubly incontinent have their sheets changed? 10? 20? Would you prefer to wet yourself or have a urinary cath (with infection risk, uncomfortable and not particularly dignified. Not many options for the number two in patients too weak to lift themselves over a bedpan and lacking the awareness to realise when one is coming.

    Dying is shit. Prolonging my death for your religious reasons is not acceptable.

  5. BiG. You’ve gone native. It’s ‘people who suffer from double incontinence’, not ‘the doubly incontinent’. And they use pads.

  6. BiG: I’m a doctor. I have seen excellent caring medicine in some cashstrapped third world hospitals and casually cruel incompetent medicine in “the envy of the world” which has been hosed with money.

  7. How long do they keep people suffering with end-stage failure of any (or all) major organ(s) in third-world hospitals? For those that make it to a hospital of course. Which way would you prefer to go?

    The religious should do more charitable, caring, hand-holding and less lecturing us about how we can’t choose to have our final moments at the time we might have had them 100 years ago because they think their God would like us to reap the benefits of modern medicine for a while longer.

  8. Can we drop the bollocks that it’s ‘the religious’ that are the only ones to care about this issue?

    I’m not remotely religious, and I think the LCP and assisted suicide on demand are dangerous slippery slopes to be perched at the top of…

  9. Biggie: People die. It happens all too soon without some pack of statist, socialist cunts lending a hand. The LCP is not about not using vast arrays of machines to keep people going after their time. It is about shoving people out the door–including a (prob small) number of people who quite possibly still have chances to get better and not die. If the person has signed something agreeing to such treatment –long before when still compos–that might have some bearing. But most aren’t being given any choice.

    Euthanasia is ok –so long as there is consent? No it fucking isn’t. Cos–as those you live amongst can tell you–the consent bit tends to get forgotten along the way.

  10. @JuliaM,

    There is no conflict between my desire to be left alone to shuffle off peacefully when the time comes and your desire to be resuscitated 100 times in your last week on earth. We just need a mechanism to record those desires and that they have legal precedence over the desires of some doctor who would likely choose otherwise for both of us.

    Isn’t there actually more common ground than difference there? That our pursuit of different personal goals turns out to be pursuit of the same goal on a societal level?

  11. @Fecks,

    You seem to be immensely confused. On the one hand (in Feckistan at least, and for the sake of argument) doctors are offing people left right and centre without their consent but having a consent procedure (for which there could be a parallel “keep me alive at all costs” procedure) to be offed should you so wish it leads down the slippery slope of – doctors offing people left right and centre.

    What is it going to be then eh?

  12. Your own definitions betray you Biggie–people can already opt to not be resuscitated if death is at hand. If, say, their boat is halfway over the weir and you could hold it there for a while but the person has asked you not to–that is one thing.

    Every medical hack serving however as his own Louis Mazzini (Dennis Price) and deciding who (amongst a number of boats waiting above the weir but not yet caught in its pull) deserves a hearty shove is something else. The only consent sought should be from people (before they are ill) as to their willingness to be put on the LCP. I was going to write “when the time comes” but that is rather the issue. Nobody is asking at present (as far as I know).

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