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UK’s Alder Hey Hospital Once Accused Of ‘Coercing Death Pathways’ For Children

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UK’s Alder Hey Hospital Once Accused Of ‘Coercing Death Pathways’ For Children

While the Alfie Evan’s passing continues to harshly resonate among a great many of the population, Alder Hey’s history of odd policies continues to rise to the surface.

Back in 2012, The Telegraph reported that some U.K. hospitals were being accused of creating “death pathways” for children. Officially termed The Liverpool Care Pathway, vital medication, fluids, and nutrition are shut off so that the patient slowly dies. These “end of life procedures” have been common among the terminally ill and the elderly, however, the 2012 article uncovers the use of the practice for disabled children. Even worse, many parents claim they were ‘coerced’ into signing up for the program.

By way of the program, disabled newborns “shrink” and become smaller as vital needs are withdrawn.

Families of those who have been enlisted in pathway programs have often claimed that they weren’t even aware their family member was on an end of life program. An inquiry was launched in an attempt to uncover why some family members aren’t even disclosed the information. In other words, why are doctors making “death pathway” decisions without the consent of family members?

An anonymous doctor, via the British Medical Journal, said the procedure is used for babies with “a lengthy list of unexpected congenital anomalies”.

“Their wishes, however, are not consistent with my experience. Survival is often much longer than most physicians think; reflecting on my previous patients, the median time from withdrawal of hydration to death was ten days.

“Parents and care teams are unprepared for the sometimes severe changes that they will witness in the child’s physical appearance as severe dehydration ensues.

“I know, as they cannot, the unique horror of witnessing a child become smaller and shrunken, as the only route out of a life that has become excruciating to the patient or to the parents who love their baby.”

One document uncovered titled, “Liverpool Pathway for the Dying Child,” was issued by Alder Hey children’s hospital. Alder Hey, of course, is now infamous from the fallout involving the passing of Alfie Evans. The document had radio boxes on it that allowed doctors to opt children out of vital needs.

One pediatric nurse, Bernadette Lloyd,  sounded off over the issue, saying, “The parents feel coerced, at a very traumatic time, into agreeing that this is correct for their child whom they are told by doctors has only has a few days to live.”

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital has remained under intense global scrutiny following its decision, in coordination with the U.K. Supreme Court, to disallow Alfie Evan’s parents to move the toddler to Italy for a last ditch effort at treatment. Instead, Alder Hey physicians pulled Alfie’s life support, which inevitably led to his death.

The issue has brought the concept of socialized medicine to the forefront of public attention. Critics of socialized medicine are using Alfie’s case as an example of socialism’s dark reality, while proponents of socialized medicine have argued the case has no roots in a socialized medicine’s infrastructure.

Author: Jim Satney

PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.

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