We have been reading such a lot in the newspapers about people being placed on the Liverpool Care Path without their consent. I have mixed feelings but feel that a lot of it is to have yet another pop at the government and the NHS as usual.
In 1986 my much loved father suffered a massive brain haemorrhage. He was nursed in our local hospital for five months, unable to speak or do very much for himself at all. I visited him nearly every day, my business was just around the corner and soon I was able form a close contact with him and we were able to communicate with signs and blinks.
I was also able to witness the personal indignities that he had to suffer. I have written from my own experiences of having to leave your dignity at the door when you become a hospital patient. I also knew that my lovely old father was not going to recover. Pa was on his own in a side ward and I was able to pop in to see him sometimes outside of normal visiting hours. On this particular day I walked into his room and saw his bed was surrounded by half a dozen medical staff working feverously and using a defibrillator obviously trying to resuscitate the old boy.
I believe that I may have shouted when I asked what going on and told them to stop. I also remember saying that he didn’t want this and I certainly I didn’t. His consultant came over to me and put his hand on my arm and said “You have made the right call but we could not make this decision we are bound to have to try” Pa died, quietly with dignity an hour and a half later. I felt so guilty at having pulled the plug and even now 26 years later I still feel the guilt at having played God but I know deep down that I had done the right thing.
I hope that should history repeat itself, my son would do the same thing for me. In my book it’s a rite of passage, however tearful. Quality of life is paramount.
I hereby give my permission that if the time comes and is thought that I would be saved from the last five months living as a vegetable, I should be placed on the Care Pathway.
Not the best subject to start off the New Year with, blame the newspapers everyone else does.
As they say on Hill Street Blues “Hey, let’s be careful out there!”