Well I have been thinking about they way the disabled and elderly and various others recently and the way they are treated by NHS and Society. Now I know they are very different but is their care? I would argue that not really. The way some things are in recent years have been reported there is a swing towards what is percieved as worthy and not worthy by society as a whole of entitlement to treatment. Now this debate in itself could be percieved as a emotive subject, which it is ,as it raised so many complicated issues.
Take the case of the elderly for instance media reports have highlighted poor care standards and inhumane ,lack of dignity I have heard crying out from outraged and concerned citizens in which patients have been found in a poor physical state , lack of nutrition because they have been unable to feed themselves, talked down to, as somehow we treat our elderly as if they are stupid and deaf as a post, and some are, but that doesnt mean we should not show them basic courtesy and respect. Is this really about staffing or is it something else fundamentally wrong with society as their relatives parcel them off to homes where they can be open to abuse and worsening health and neglect,are we passing the responsibilty to NHS or others! I think in some cases the argument say for example of someone with dementia, it is very hard caring for these relatives and specialist care is best for them and in some cases they have no family nearby, but are we also guilty of passing the buck I found myself pondering. in my own family we have all tried our best to make sure that someone is able to share the care needs of a relative so they are able to stay at home in most cases, even though that has been the cause of friction at times. We had public outrage over deaths at South Staffordshire where case after case showed failing in this particular hospital care for it’s patients which lead to a public enquiry and sacking of almost all of those staff as they were pilloried ,(rightly so) in the press and at the enquiry that followed, but this happens in other hospitals too just not on same scale. Greiving relatives rightly want justice if they feel a loved one died as a consequence of poor care. http://www.curethenhs.co.uk/site/content_home.php
Next look at the Dignatas debate on assisted dying and the denial in most cases of the UK to look seriously at this debate and making many sick people take matters to high courts and in most cases losing a bitter and long drawn out battle adding to the stress of the last days of their lives. Then we have those who have helped relatives to take up this service privately only to be arrested on the airport tarmac for assisting a loved one to die they way they wish, facing possible a stiff sentence in jail if found to be guilty of assisting another to their end of life,which is still illegal in the UK. Then we have those who pay by their own means to die as their life as become so unbearable they cannot carry on. Dignitas was founded in 1998 by Ludwig A. Minelli, a Swiss lawyer. Swiss laws provide that assistance to suicide is only illegal if it is motivated by self-interest. As a result, Dignitas seeks to ensure that it acts as a neutral party by proving that aside from non-recurring fees, they have nothing to gain from the deaths of its member.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dignitas_(assisted_dying_organisation)
Immediately what jumps out to me is they are just two different examples so far.
We next move along to the Disabled in particular those with mental health or learning disablities which was highlighted to me recently although they are indirectly linked to the previous debate on Assisted Suicide. Early in February 2012 Mencap did a report into 74 deaths relating to some DNR cases. http://www.mencap.org.uk/sites/default/files/documents/Death%20by%20Indifference%20-%2074%20Deaths%20and%20counting.pdf . NO parent wants to find themselves in a situation that they have to decide what is probably the most impossible situation of decideding a loved one has suffered enough. This is why in the UK that task falls more often than not to doctors and nurses who are doing the caring or in some cases the high courts,both at home and abroad. How does someone make the very difficult decision that someones quality of life is no longer sustainable and is cruel to keep them alive and in pain and distress? I know I wouldnt want to have to make it! This particular issue was raised in in one of the welfare groups to which I belong, and leaving personal sentiment aside, I decided to tackle this subject in this blog! So I took a look at the what was presented as a argument of DNR debate . Again another percieved very emotive subject. Im not saying one way or another what I think is right or wrong thats you, the readers job to decide which side of the debate you find yourself. It certainly does make the eyebrows raise.
The Welfare Reforms battle smacks of the Eugenics Debate where the various groups in society are seen as less worthy by the general public, fuelled by the present coalition goverment condeming those classed as vunerable , sick and disabled or on the bottom rung of the ladder by resricting welfare and healthcare and cutting off any voice they may have to redress via our legal system to those who are battling the Hitleresque similarites they now face. we have had reports in the media and press targetting the feral youths who are lazy and workshy and rioters who are lawless and should be banged up long time, coming from single parents households is the suggestion. Next we have Fat people who are percieved gorge themselves to death and cause immense strain in our NHS, not to forget the pisshead alcoholic, and benefit fraudsters who lurk around every corner ripping off those hardworking taxpayers who see themselves worthy because they are working and paying taxes. Story after story vilifying those on benefit from all press except Guardian and the odd story from yes the Daily Mail journalist Sonia Poulton who has been a stalwart to the welfare debate and a couple others . Some sections of society have called, including NHS Dr’s, to restrict treatment to those deemed not worthy because of lifestyle choice such as the smoker who has been the hardest hit so far. Is this the way forward we want where we have hitleresque ideals of getting rid of things that the self righteous in society think are not worthy. I hope not as I think society is at the very line they should not cross, but I fear we may well be!
Well well since I did this blog everyones worst nightmare suggestion has been voiced by a medical ethicist well I dont know about you but Im horrified and outraged as Im sure many will be when you read this update and link read for yourself