Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
Critics have charged that Sarah Palin and others were wildly over the top, in warning that President Barack Obama’s health-care reform initiative could open the door to federally funded “death panels” that would order the euthanizing of seriously ill patients.
Given what’s going on right now under Britain’s socialized National Health Service, the claims of Palin et al might not have been so wild after all, according to an article published yesterday by The Telegraph newspaper.
It’s called “Sentenced to death on the NHS,” and it’s a chilling read. It describes exactly the sort of problems predicted by those who have warned about the perils of inclusion of federal funding for end-of-life discussions between doctors and patients in the ObamaCare package.
Here’s the start of the Telegraph article:
In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, a group of experts who care for the terminally ill claim that some patients are being wrongly judged as close to death.
Under NHS guidance introduced across England to help doctors and medical staff deal with dying patients, they can then have fluid and drugs withdrawn and many are put on continuous sedation until they pass away.
But this approach can also mask the signs that their condition is improving, the experts warn.
As a result the scheme is causing a “national crisis” in patient care, the letter states. It has been signed palliative care experts including Professor Peter Millard, Emeritus Professor of Geriatrics, University of London, Dr Peter Hargreaves, a consultant in Palliative Medicine at St Luke’s cancer centre in Guildford, and four others.
“Forecasting death is an inexact science,” they say. Patients are being diagnosed as being close to death “without regard to the fact that the diagnosis could be wrong.
“As a result a national wave of discontent is building up, as family and friends witness the denial of fluids and food to patients.”