“It is a huge supposition to think they do not feel hunger or thirst.”

So says Dr Laura de Rooy, a consultant neonatologist at St George’s Hospital NHS Trust in London writing in response to an article published in the British Medical Journal of the placement of disabled infants on the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP).

The LCP was developed to help push those clinging for life off the cliff, so to speak. The elderly and terminally ill. It defines the “care” for patients no longer deemed fit for life in the much-vaunted free NHS. Free for those healthy enough to survive it, maybe. But I digress.

Severely disabled infants have been placed on the LCP. Starving a baby to death. Brings new meaning to the term “care protocol,” no? More:

Earlier this month, an un-named doctor wrote of the agony of watching the protracted deaths of babies. The doctor described one case of a baby born with ‘a lengthy list of unexpected congenital anomalies’, whose parents agreed to put it on the pathway.

The doctor wrote: ‘They wish for their child to die quickly once the feeding and fluids are stopped. They wish for pneumonia. They wish for no suffering. They wish for no visible changes to their precious baby.

‘Their wishes, however, are not consistent with my experience. Survival is often much longer than most physicians think; reflecting on my previous patients, the median time from withdrawal of hydration to death was ten days.

‘Parents and care teams are unprepared for the sometimes severe changes that they will witness in the child’s physical appearance as severe dehydration ensues.

‘I know, as they cannot, the unique horror of witnessing a child become smaller and shrunken, as the only route out of a life that has become excruciating to the patient or to the parents who love their baby.’

According to the BMJ article, the doctor involved had presided over ten such deaths in just one hospital neonatal unit.

One British nurse has the guts to call the practice what it is:

Bernadette Lloyd, a hospice paediatric nurse, has written to the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health to criticise the use of death pathways for children.She said: ‘The parents feel coerced, at a very traumatic time, into agreeing that this is correct for their child whom they are told by doctors has only has a few days to live. It is very difficult to predict death. I have seen a “reasonable” number of children recover after being taken off the pathway.

‘I have also seen children die in terrible thirst because fluids are withdrawn from them until they die.

‘I witnessed a 14 year-old boy with cancer die with his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth when doctors refused to give him liquids by tube. His death was agonising for him, and for us nurses to watch. This is euthanasia by the backdoor.’

And this is the system we rush to emulate because it’s far more compassionate? Read the rest.

Oh, wait, a parting thought from the doctor:

Some say withdrawing medically provided hydration and nutrition is akin to withdrawing any other form of life support. Maybe, but that is not how it feels. The one thing that helps me a little is the realisation that this process is necessarily difficult. It needs to be.

To acknowledge that a child’s prospects are so dire, so limited, that we will not or cannot provide artificial nutrition is self selecting for the rarity of the situations in which parents and care teams would ever consider it.

Loving a child on the fringe  will no longer be an option in an IPAB world (H/t: Pundette). The choice to love a baby whose life will be deemed too costly for living won’t be ours alone to make. The Peter Singers of the world will reign.

Scary thought, isn’t it?

Back to cleaning and cooking for me, avoiding the news and politics and all. This real-world stuff is for the birds.


Across the pond, death panels and “smart” grids

What liberals dream of: the ability to regulate which babies deserve to live and when your light switches actually work.

From the UK Daily Mail, Donald Berwick must be swooning:

Babies born after just 23 weeks of pregnancy or earlier should be left to die, a leading NHS official has said.

Dr Daphne Austin said that despite millions being spent on specialised treatments, very few of these children survive as their tiny bodies are too underdeveloped.

She claimed keeping them alive is only ‘prolonging their agony’, and it would be better to invest the money in care for cancer sufferers or the disabled.

Until, of course, a doctor decides that money spent on cancer patients or the disabled just “prolong[s] their agony,” too, and that they’re better off dead.

But remember: there are no death panels.

And via motorcitytimes, the CEO of the British power grid says folks need to “get used to” flipping that switch and receiving no power. It’s called “smart” power:

Electricity consumers in the UK will need to get used to flicking the switch and finding the power unavailable, according to Steve Holliday, CEO of National Grid, the country’s grid operator. Because of a six-fold increase in wind generation, which won’t be available when the wind doesn’t blow, “The grid is going to be a very different system in 2020, 2030,” he told BBC’s Radio 4. “We keep thinking that we want it to be there and provide power when we need it. It’s going to be much smarter than that.

“We are going to change our own behaviour and consume it when it is available and available cheaply.”

Holliday has for several years been predicting that blackouts could become a feature of power systems that replace reliable coal plants with wind turbines in order to meet greenhouse gas targets. Wind-based power systems are necessary to meet the government’s targets, he has explained, but they will require lifestyle changes.

Under the so-called “smart grid” that the UK is developing, the government-regulated utility will be able to decide when and where power should be delivered, to ensure that it meets the highest social purpose. Governments may, for example, decide that the needs of key industries take precedence over others, or that the needs of industry trump that of residential consumers. Governments would also be able to price power prohibitively if it is used for non-essential purposes

Let me guess: that air conditioner will be non-essential. And forget it if your fridge draws too much power. Will the government then cover the cost of your spoiled-contents? Ha. That will be your fault, I’m sure, for greedily stocking too much.

Steve at motorcitytimes comments:

Even if you are good and faithful environmentalist and purchase a planet saving Volt or Leaf, the government through the ‘smart grid’ might decide that allowing you to charge your EV has less social benefit than providing power elsewhere. Then your choices to get to work are public transportation, riding your bike or walking.

Remember: your freedom of movement is a threat.

Let there be no doubt what the “green” movement really is. I prefer the watermelon analogy: green on the outside and flaming red within.

Miracles do happen

Teachingmytwo highlighted the plight of the Maraachli family’s fight to take their baby home to die in peace, surrounded by family. To do so, Baby Joseph would have to receive a tracheotomy, which the Canadian doctors death panel deemed “too risky.” The family took their fight to court. They lost. The baby would die in the hospital upon removal of his breathing tube.

In more direct terms: Joseph would suffocate in front of his helpless parents.

The Maraachli family knew Joseph had no chance of recovery.

They wanted to bring him home to die on his own terms, surrounded with love. Why? From Life Site News, heartbreak:

The Maraachlis’ daughter died from similar complications eight years ago, but in that case doctors performed a tracheotomy and they were able to take her home.  Joseph’s parents want the same for him.

Now he might have the chance.  From the Toronto Sun:

A dying Windsor, Ont., baby who was likely to be taken off life support this week at a London, Ont., hospital might instead be moved to a Michigan hospital.

The family wants to take Joseph home to die. Let’s pray doctors in Michigan help that happen. Pray. If you’d like to donate to help defray their legal costs, go here. For more updates, join the Save Baby Joseph Facebook page.