Euthanasia. Rationing. Assisted Suicide. These are the kinds of concerns the pro-life community brought up when Congress pushed through Obamacare and government-run health care. These concerns are already becoming real in the Untied States, but a new story out of the United Kingdom should give Americans a hint as to what’s next.
Nurses who are a part of in-home health care programs for the sick, elderly and disabled are coming forward to say they’ve been told to ask such patients not if they need medical help but if they need assistance in killing themselves.
The elderly patients are given these forms and asked these questions as a part of Britain’s NHS program, the government-run health care scheme. Experts fear patients will feel pressured into giving consent to avoid trouble.
The forms were sent to patients in June and then returned to their doctors and they target patients over 75 and patients with long-term medical conditions — both of whom may be vulnerable to pressure to end their lives to ration their health care.
Nurses are visiting the elderly at home to see whether they would agree to a ‘do not resuscitate’ order.
They are asking patients they have never met sensitive medical questions, including what should happen if their health suddenly fails.
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A ‘do not resuscitate’ – DNR – order instructs doctors not to try to restart a heart that has stopped beating.
The questionnaires are part of an NHS England scheme to improve care of the elderly and keep them out of hospital. It is not clear why DNR is on the forms.
Medical experts fear vulnerable patients will feel pressured into giving their consent simply to avoid causing trouble.
Peter Carter of the Royal College of Nursing said: ‘I have never heard of anything like it. These questions are usually only asked when the nurse has developed a good and meaningful relationship with the patient.
‘Only then will the nurse begin broaching these difficult subjects.
‘It is truly extraordinary within a few minutes of meeting someone to ask them where they want to die and to sign a form. Nurses shouldn’t be put in that position.’
Roy Lilley, a health policy analyst whose mother was visited by a nurse with the form, described the policy as callous.
‘Elderly, frail but otherwise healthy people are being asked, by complete strangers, to sign a form agreeing they shouldn’t be resuscitated,’ he said. ‘It is outrageous. People will be frightened to death thinking the district nurses know something they don’t and will feel obliged to sign the form so as not to be thought a nuisance.