Skip to comments.Elderly Woman Rescued by Family from NHS Dehydration Order
Posted on 07/02/2008 4:42:34 PM PDT by wagglebee
BIRMINGHAM, UK, July 2, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - "Ellen Westwood was due to die in February but her family's Catholic and for them, life is sacred." So begins the television coverage by the BBC of a battle by a Birmingham family to prevent the NHS from dehydrating their mother to death.
According to the BBC's report, doctors decided on a Friday in February that Mrs. Westwood was "due to die" by the following Monday, but the family, with the intervention of their priest, fought the order to remove the woman's hydration.
Mrs. Ellen Westwood, 88, was in Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital for two months after she had been admitted into Birmingham's Royal Orthopaedic Hospital for routine shoulder surgery. The woman ended up being treated for dementia and C.difficile, which Westwood's daughter alleges she contracted at the Orthopaedic Hospital after the surgery. The bacterial infection soon spread to her cheeks, face and throat, making it difficult for her to swallow.
Doctors at Selly Oak Hospital then told the family that all food, fluids and hydration were to be stopped and that Mrs. Westwood would be given morphine "because she is dying".
Ellen's daughter, Kathleen Westwood, told the BBC that the decision had been taken because it was "a capacity ruling" and that under current UK law, the family's wishes do not enter into the equation.
"If you deem somebody to have lost capacity, then the doctors can act in the best interests," she said.
The family had an interview with doctors on a Friday afternoon, in which they were told that Mrs. Westwood was going to die.
"In [the doctors'] view the best interests was for my mother to die - and clearly by Monday she would have been dead," Kathleen told BBC.
The family, however, brought the woman food and water. Hospital officials responded by threatening to report the family to social services for feeding Mrs. Westwood.
"We said we don't want this to happen and they said 'it's happening, sorry'. I had to fight very, very hard to get it stopped."
Eventually the family obtained a second opinion and Mrs. Westwood was able to go home, where she is recovering well and is celebrating her 89th birthday today.
A statement from the NHS said, "We have met with the family and are investigating these issues via our normal internal channels." The NHS has said that it followed national guidelines in making its decision.
Under the UK's Mental Capacity Act, passed in 2005, patients deemed to be incapable of making decisions in their own "best interests" can have all fluids withheld until they die. The family can do little to stop this process once doctors have made their decision.
While active euthanasia officially remains illegal in Britain, some are saying that the NHS standard procedure of issuing elderly and vulnerable patients with an "end of life plan" that includes dehydration, is simply euthanasia under a different name. And it is becoming common. A packed meeting this week in Stafford organised by a group called Cure the NHS, heard the stories of families who had been forced to bring in priests and lawyers to stop similar orders from killing their loved ones, even though the patients sometimes are not terminally ill.
Pro-life advocates in Britain deplored the Labour government's "Mental Capacity" legislation, calling it "the end of the Hippocratic tradition of medical ethics in Britain". In January 2005, Baroness Chapman, a disabled peer, said that the Mental Capacity bill failed to make patients safe and left them open to abuse. Speaking during the House of Lords second reading debate on the bill, she said, "The bill ignores the fact that people have a basic right to life."
Memo to the miscreants at the BBC:
Life SHOULD be sacred to EVERYBODY.
Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.
Here is a nice little glimpse of what socialized medicine brings.
National Health Care: Can we in the US be far behind under Obama?
We. Still. Have. Guns.
Otherwise, here is an example of how you can do anything you want to Subjects.
When Socialized Medicine refuses to dialyze people over 65, it then becomes a matter of kill or Be Killed, doesn't it?
And as the population ages and become subject to de facto euthanasia, it becomes a real possibility.
Doctors are officers and agents of the state institution of justice and the state has the power of death.
And you can't yank your relative out of the offending hospital and transfer to another -
This lady went to the hospital for "routine shoulder surgery."
I have personally witnessed patients being put in nursing homes, perfectly sound in mind, and not on any medications, being instantly plied with several meds that resulted in dementia-like symptoms, incontinence, etc...
I had a friend last year who had an aneurysm - and the family, at the advice of the medics, pulled the plug in just 2 days.
The relatively new yardstick for death, called "brain dead" is misleading. Many times, it turns out the brain was just 'resting' while the body healed.
HOWEVER - organ transplants are BIG $$$ and they are most viable when taken from a body whose heart is still beating. Indeed, many organs are not suitable for transplant once the heard stops beating. The criteria for death, has, since the world began, until the advent on transplants, been - when the heart stops beating.
I wouldn't want to be kept alive indefinitely on machines = but neither would I want to be looked at as a big chunk of money ready to harvest.
Pray to stay well until you just, one day, fall asleep and don't wake up.
I'm speechless! I'm freakin' speechless!
It’s truly barbaric.
And your point is...? *\;-|
I be they stop doing so much of it now that it's clear private individuals can possess and use firearms.
Thats it, I cant take it anymore
“Eventually the family obtained a second opinion and Mrs. Westwood was able to go home, where she is recovering well and is celebrating her 89th birthday today.”
It shows just how wrong they were, but I’m glad at least this story had a happy ending.
And if drugs make someone temporarily incoherent, they can be dehydrated to death, if a loved one doesn’t fight for them, and dehydration is a tough way to die.
My mother is 86 and is in the later stages of Parkinson’s, but she has a will to live. We can’t leave her alone for a minute, but we all take turns taking care of her. We value her life, and we’re even taking her with us to the seashore on Friday. This story is barbaric...
That’s truly frightening. I think denying someone fluids and having them die by dehydration should be deemed torture.
I’m glad her family fought and she’s alive and safe. But how many families are there out there who didn’t fight or fought but lost and there was no media attention because there was no living patient to prove that it was a bad decision?
This is what the culture of death is. Once we start deciding that humans are worth what other people decide they’re worth and don’t have any value in themselves, we reach a barbaric level.
Terri’s case was a shock to me. I would never have expected the governor, president and others in power to stand by, shrug and say there was nothing they can do - even though they could.