Archive | socialized medicine RSS feed for this section

Families of patients scheduled to die not informed under socialized medicine

8 Mar

Nurse accuses top hospital over Liverpool Care Pathway

A nurse has accused one of Britain’s top hospitals of placing her father on a controversial ‘pathway’ to death without consulting his family or even keeping a record of the reasons.

Nurse accuses top hospital over Liverpool care Pathway

Mr Goold was transferred to the neurosciences critical care unit Addenbrooke’s Hospital after suffering a bleed in the brain Photo: Alamy
Susan Phillips, 50, believes that had it not been for her own training she would not have known that her father had been placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
Mrs Phillips, who has worked both as a hospital nurse and in a care home, has herself nursed people on the LCP and is not opposed to it in principle. But she said she “cannot believe” that the hospital would have acted without informing the family.
Robert Goold, 69, from Stevenage, Herts, spent at least six days days on the pathway – which is designed for use only in the “last hours or days” of life – with nutrition and fluids withdrawn until his death last week, according to his daughter.
She claims that the care he received at the end of his life was “barbaric” and said the experience had left her family with nightmares.
Last night the chief executive of Cambridge University Hospitals foundation trust said the family’s complaint was being treated “very seriously”.
The allegations come at a time when public concern over whether the system, designed to allow people to die with dignity and minimal pain, is being used inappropriately was at its height.
Mr Goold, who suffered from dementia, was initially taken to Lister Hospital in Stevenage after a fall which left him with a fractured neck, back, skull and cheekbone.
He was transferred to the neurosciences critical care unit Addenbrooke’s Hospital early last month after suffered a bleed in the brain.
According to his daughter he had food and fluids withdrawn on Sunday, February 17, and oxygen removed 48 hours later when he was officially placed on the pathway.
But she says she only discovered that this had happened when she arrived at the ward on Tuesday February 19.
Mrs Phillips said that she telephoned the ward at around 9am that morning and was told her father was doing well and that there was no need to come before regular visiting hours.
But when she arrived, she says she found him crying out in pain with no visible life support and was told he had been put on the LCP.
“He had been completely stripped of all life support,” she said.
“I could not believe what I was seeing, we are all having nightmares – it was so traumatic to watch him like that.”
“I questioned the nurses and consultants about why he had been put on the LCP, but none of them had an answer because there was nothing in the notes.
“If they had asked if I wanted him to go on it I would have said no.”
She added: “I am not against the use of LCP if there is nothing else that can be done, I have nursed patients through LCP.
“But I cannot believe that they would put my father on LCP without asking me and my family.
“If it was not for my medical knowledge my family would not have known what was going on and that we should question the care he was receiving.
“We are all deeply upset by what happened to my dad. It was not a humane way to die.”
The family has made a formal complaint which is to be investigated after an inquest which was opened and adjourned yesterday.
Dr Keith McNeil, chief executive of the trust, said: “This must be a very difficult time for Mr Goold’s family and I have great sympathy for the loss they must be feeling.
“We are taking this very seriously and I am sorry that the family feel they have cause to complain.
“Their concerns will be investigated as a matter of urgency to determine exactly what happened and why.
“We aim to treat all our patients with care, compassion, dignity and respect.
“If care does not meet our usually high standards then I personally will want to know why not. I will ensure we find out what went wrong so we can address the family’s concerns.”
“The Trust is abiding by the coroner’s request not to discuss any further details.”