Posts Tagged ‘social issues’

The following blog many will find distressing. Be Warned.

The Liverpool Care Pathway was a palliative care package for the dying.

It could be said that each procedure has its own identifying image.
For the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), it would be the butterfly syringe.

The ‘body’ of the syringe is one main inlet to the patient, while each ‘wing’ has portals for other drips etc to be attached simultaneously. This allows many drugs to be administered at the same time, and continuously.

Once the butterfly syringe has been applied, however, then the person is ushered into the ‘ways of dying’. No food or water is given, a coma induced, and the patient monitored, usually visually, for signs of pain, and then the necessary drug given.
The whole aim is to create the conditions for an assisted but relatively less distressing slide into death.
Once inserted there is no going back, and no stopping: the procedure is taken through to the end, the person’s death.

The main decisions to do with the Pathway are the decisions of usually experienced nursing staff etc.
Mistakes can be, and have been, made. Where  visual assessment of someone’s condition is crucial, it is relatively open to misjudgement: how do you distinguish ‘agitation’, from ‘pain,’ or even distress? For the former the patient is merely monitored, for the latter,   measures are taken.
It has been found that in some cases that people haven continued living ten to twelve days after the pathway was initiated.
To go without food or water for this period, even though the person was comatose, would have produced agonising pains as the basic levels of the body fought.

And so the Liverpool Care Pathway was discontinued.

What has taken its place, however, is a procedure so similar it is easy to confuse the two: is it just the name has changed?

To sit with the dying under normal conditions is terrible enough (a doctor said, ‘Do not die in hospital!’ The noise and lack of privacy take away all dignity.)
But to sit with the dying, knowing that you have agreed to the intrusive procedure being administered… that is on another level.

And so we see a surge in applicants to Dignitas. Dignitas may seem a very antiseptic, clinical, mess-free alternative, but it does allow a person a measure of choice.
The heartbreak, naturally, comes with it.

Religion, it will be noticed, plays no part whatsoever in these procedures.
The Last Rites are administered, as normal, and prayers said, but afterlife considerations play no part in the decision-making.

Let’s face it, folks, our hearts are going to get broken, no matter which way is taken/chosen.


Oh, and never agree to have one’s loved one embalmed.

Would you rephrase the question?

Posted: September 29, 2011 in Chat
Tags: , ,

I got into one of those interminable discussions about the failings of political parties, today at work.

This was followed by a long delay in busing home, so had more time to think than was probably healthy for me.
When the bus did eventually arrive we were passing through a wealthy district to get to our shanties (what it felt like!) and a group of rich kids looked stunned as the bus went by, with actual people on board. Then the chant came: Bus Wankers! Bus Wankers!
Sheesh, some kids have just no idea, do they!

I wonder, do these kids ever wonder just where and how their present level of wealth came into being? Most probably some previous generation’s forefather worked himself into an early grave to provide well for his family, and family’s family. Excellent, if you are that sort of personality. It is worthwhile to look at the lives of these people, entrepeneurs, pioneers of a kind; at family lives, sacrifices, business toughness: to unwrap these phrases, and read what they mean in human terms. See them, not as ‘tycoons’, ‘millionaires’, but as versions of those kids we knew down the street. People.
Like politicians: those same kids down the street grown up. People; but people who for some reason feel they have a reason for doing what they are doing. It may look rather dodgy to the rest of us, but within the framework of politics it allows them a mobility perhaps nowhere else could.
That’s all good; what I am unsure about is whether that is sufficient cause for them to rule, in whatever fashion: to make decisions for us, and expect us to accept.
We vote for them, yes, but what options do we really have? Who would you Really vote for? I would bet they are not on that register of electees.

And I got to thinking. And what I thought was All our Political Parties seem to be letting us all down. All the time. What if what we are looking for is not a political solution. Politics, after all, just deals with everything in a political way. Not everything can be.
In fact, I would go as far as to say that at this moment, less of our lives is political, or should be a political issue, than it actually is. Health, Welfare, Education, Jobs should Not be political footballs.
Perhaps what we are looking for are social answers, that we need to redefine our lives, expectations, and realisable futures, through social commitment.

I don’t know where this is going, and I am very wary of it cos at my back I always here the whisper of ‘Danger! Danger! Ignore them at your peril! Turn away once and before you know it some extreme faction will be shoving everybody into holes, with hammers.’
Alas, it is probably so.
We have to keep an eye on our politicians, but without getting drawn in.