The onset of Obamacare in the United States brought on fears of death panels via rationed health care that encourages the elderly, disabled or terminally ill to choose death over medical care and treatment or that may cut off treatment without their consent.
Those fears were prompted by concerns about government-run health care in Britain and Canada, where patients often wait in long lines for medical treatment or surgery — sometimes at risk to their own life and health because of the delays. In states lie Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal, patients have been told their assisted suicide would be paid for while their medical treatment would not.
Now, out of the UK, new NHS guidelines are urging doctors to ask elderly patients to sign DNR orders that would have doctors taking their lives by refusing to resuscitate them rather than providing them lifesaving care.
New NHS guidelines urge doctors to draw up end-of-life plans for elderly patients and younger patients with serious conditions, such as cancer. Doctors are told to ask patients if they want a DNR order if thei9r medical condition worsens. Medical professionals say it is ‘blatantly wrong’ and will frighten elderly patients.
The NHS says the guidance will improve patients’ end-of-life care, but medical professionals say it is ‘blatantly wrong’ and will frighten the elderly into thinking they are being ‘written off’.
In some surgeries, nurses are cold-calling patients over 75 or with long-term conditions and asking them over the phone if they have ‘thought about resuscitation’.
Other patients have spoken of the shock of going in for a routine check-up and being asked about resuscitation.
The extraordinary new guidance has been brought in despite the outcry over the use of ‘do not resuscitate’ orders under the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP).
The discredited pathway was scrapped last year after the Mail revealed that doctors were placing ‘DNR’ notices on patients without their knowledge and depriving them of food and fluids.
The guidelines – which also recommend patients should be asked if they want to die at home – have been drawn up by experts advising NHS England, the organisation which runs the health service.
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One expert last night said the guidance was ‘the thin end of the wedge of assisted suicide’.
Professor Patrick Pullicino, who spearheaded the campaign against the LCP, said: ‘What is most blatantly wrong is trying to get someone to agree to a ‘do not resuscitate’ order before they are even sick. For somebody who is perfectly well, or has got a mild or not a serious illness, that would be totally out of place.’
Roy Lilley, a health policy analyst and former NHS trust chairman, said: ‘It will give some older people the impression that no-one wants to bother with them. It looks as though they’re being told: ‘You’re old, how do you want to die because you’re in the way’.
‘It’s a very clunky thing to do – it’s completely unnecessary.’