Thursday, 29 September 2011


Euthanasia means mercy killing, merciful release. The law states we should not take another person's life no matter what condition they are in, even if they beg for release.  We have to go abroad for that.

I believe that we should be allowed to decide if we want a 'merciful end to our suffering' or indeed for a beloved relative. We can of course, make a 'livng will' however, that only means that food and water will be withheld along with any medication to help towards cure, but pain relief is given to ease suffering. This process can be slow and tortuous, the suffering and grief can be horrendous for the families involved.

Euthanasia should be allowed with a consensus of opinions from medical, nursing, family and the person concerned, if the individual cannot, for various reasons, give consent then family, medical and an independant adjudicator should decide.

Now of course this is just my opinion and counts for very little except we have to consider what is happening in our hospitals at the moment. Our elderly and infirmed are not receiving proper care. We cannot blame the nurses themselves, we must blame the system.
When you have four or more foremen in one department who gives the orders? Nowadays there are four or more  qualified staff nurses on a ward. Well  trained academically but lacking hands on basic nursing care experience.
This morning I heard on the news that each nurse is allocated a certain number of patients, for the elderly it's eleven to one. Yet the elderly near more hands on care, toilet, washing, feeding etc and TLC.

So many members of the public have stories to tell about how they were cared for or observers of poor care, here are a few:
Patient: "Nurse can I go to the toilet?"
Nurse: "Yes of course, I will tell your nurse"

Food left on the bedside table only for the nurse to return and see it untouched, recording 'refused food'.
Stale drinks left untouched out of reach of elderly and infirmed patients.

A friend visited her mum in hospital who had just returned from theatre, she overheard her ask for toilet help. "Can I go to the toilet nurse?"  Nurse replied casually over her shoulder, "course you can dear' with this walked off and left her to go on her own. Imagine just back from theatre after an operation needless to say her daughter assisted her there but she wet herself all the way. How is that nursing care?

The Daily Mail states, 'Poor Hospital Care is causing thousands of elderly patients to die needlessly after routine operations.' through lack of care.
'Patient Care So Bad it's a Crime'. Neglect of the old in hospitals is so bad it's breaking the law.

Can we allow this to continue? Elderly patients are losing weight and becoming dehydrated, they are being left unfed and unwatered because of the system in place, this is not merciful release, its wrong.
If we do not want so called 'passive euthanasia' to happen then we must take control of it, we must take a look at what is going wrong. There are those who openly criticised the nursing care, myself included and I am an ex nurse but what can we expect other than this system of 'passive euthanasia', of course its illegal so therefore is it manslaughter or murder? Incidentally there are probably more nurses on each ward now than there has ever been but in general it appears that there is an abundance of qualified staff nurses. What happened to the SEN and the auxillary who were invaluable in the care of patients? Do they still exist in another form?

 How are nurses instructed to care for the elderly in their training these days? It seems  there is a gap which has to change, for one thing society is losing respect for the individual nurse and that is sad, I have been in hospital several times and found nurses to be good and kind but I am mobile, I was at an advantage and did not need assistance in my personal care, I could ask for what I wanted, thank God I was independant. However I also asked for other patients less fortunate. I would ring for a nurse for an old lady calling for a bedpan across from me. I would offer a drink to someone too weak to reach the cup.

Old style nursing maybe a joke to the modern nurse and of course we did not have all these super bugs to contend with but then is that due to poor standards over the last few years? We were lucky to have the student nurse training on the wards and in school with hands on and theoretical learning. I remember nearly failing an exam because they thought I had not washed my hands. We did have a system of development where nurses were trained from mentorship and by God some of the sisters and matrons where pretty scary but it worked, we were so strictly trained we would never forget to make the patient the priority
The Mail has also stated  that 'The Royal College of Surgeons blames the waiting list targets set by the government and the elderly patients are at risk and are left languishing on the wards'. Languishing is a harsh word, what patient wants to languish, what individual wants to slowly decline or go downhill. Mainly patients want to go home back to their independence, or loving families. Definately not stay where they are not wanted.
I believe what is happening is partly due the rising elderly population. As we get older we require more treatments, medication etc and all this helps prolong life, the problem is society and governments are not equipped to handle it. Even though post war governments recognised that one day the country would be top heavy with older people and would be over burdening a younger society in taxes.

In my training as a Health Visitor over thirty years ago I was told this same thing and in the social science lectures we were told what to expect. So governments have known this would come and once again closed their eyes and ears to the ever increasing problem.

I have linked this article to euthanasia because in so many ways I think that is what is happening but in a cruel and underhanded way. I certainly would not want to hang around in this society waiting to become a patient in hospital where I might die from starvation and lack of TLC.
Please let me know what you think.

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