Report: 1,100 Home Care Patients in England Dehydrated to Death Since 2003

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 2, 2013   |   2:49PM   |   London, England

A scary report out of England finds that more than 1,100 home care patients were essentially dehydrated to death since 2003. The report indicates the patient sin question died of thirst or while suffering severe dehydration.

The statistics are likely higher because the official figures only include the people who literally died in their homes and do not include people who were rushed to the hospital for medical treatment before dying from the effects of the dehydration.

“Elderly and vulnerable patients were left without enough water despite being under the supervision of trained staff in homes in England and Wales,” the London Telegraph reports. “Charities called for an urgent overhaul in social care, saying that the general public would be outraged if animals were treated in the same way.”

Further information from the newspaper:

“How can we call ourselves civilized when people are left to starve or die of thirst? … It is an utter disgrace that they are ever left without the most basic care,” said Dr Alison Cook, a director at the Alzheimer’s Society.

Figures obtained by this newspaper under freedom of information laws found that 1,158 care home residents suffered dehydration-related deaths between 2003 and 2012. Dehydration was named as either the underlying cause of death or a contributory factor, according to analysis of death certificates by the Office of National Statistics.

Some 318 care home residents were found to have died from starvation or when severely malnourished, while 2,815 deaths were linked to bed sores.
The real figures are likely to be far higher because residents who died while in hospital were not included.

Campaigners said the disclosures raised serious concerns about the way vulnerable elderly people were treated and why the Government had failed to decrease the numbers dying of thirst after more than three years in office.

American writer Wesley Smith has commented frequently on the phenomenon of patients essentially being euthanized by dehydration or starvation.



“We dehydrate to death helpless people in this country because they have a catastrophic cognitive impairment. Advocates for dehydration say it is just medical ethics, the withdrawal of the medical treatment of tube feeding,” he says. “Dehydrating helpless people to death was once unthinkable. Then, in the 80s, bioethicists began advocating withdrawing tube-supplied food and fluids. And so it came to pass.”

Smith continues: “Advocates for dehydration started by claiming it should be reserved strictly for those who are unconscious. They have, of course, broadened the dehydration caste since. But recent scientific studies have now also shown that many supposedly unconscious patients aren’t unaware at all.”