Friday, 11 May 2018

End-of-life treatment

"Alfie, already weakened and subjected to violent treatment, was deprived of the antibiotics needed to treat his lung infection and then of food and oxygen for too many hours. Those who want to avoid taking a stand find shelter behind the mantra of a `too complicated case` whose boundaries would be too difficult to establish. But perhaps what is lacking is the courage to face the facts and say clearly that this is a case of blatant euthanasia? It is clear that if for the doctors considered Alfie's life was `futile`, then the effort and cost involved were not worth bearing and automatically the medical approach could only be to eliminate him. As Selicorni wrote: `If I consider Alfie's changing fortunes as worthless, a useless, meaningless human life, I can not help but think that the sooner I put an end to it, the better it is`."

"Sounds like fantasy? In 2012, controversy arose due to complaints filed by patients involved in the Liverpool Care Pathaway, the end-of-life treatment program then in force in Britain. A nurse from Alder Hey, Bernadette Loyd, exasperated by seeing similar cases, had written to the Minister of Health denouncing the ways in which children and babies die. `Dying of thirst is terrible, and it is inconceivable that children should die like that. Their parents stand at a crossroads and feel almost forced to choose this path because the doctors say their children have only a few days to live. But it is very difficult to predict death and I have also seen a few children come back to life after the LCP had been started and then stopped.` `I have also seen children die terribly of thirst because hydration is suspended until they die. I saw a 14-year-old boy with cancer die with his tongue stuck to his palate when the doctors refused to hydrate him. His death was experienced with anguish by him and us nurses. This is euthanasia being introduced through the front door `. The National Health System responded to Loyd without addressing the matter: `Care for the end of life must meet the highest professional criteria and we must know how to stand next to the child's parents during the decision-making process`."

The original article in Italian is: Ecco come hanno fatto morire Alfie
(Translation by Patricia Gooding Williams)

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