Controversies in care
- By: Isobel Weinberg
“Hospitals bribed to put patients on pathway to death,” screamed one recent Daily Mail headline. “Now sick babies go on death pathway,” was another. The “death pathway” in question is the Liverpool care pathway (LCP), a clinical tool for caring for dying patients. It offers a framework for suspending unnecessary treatment and prioritising the patient’s comfort. But the Daily Mail has claimed that the doctors in the UK are killing patients to meet targets by using the pathway to withdraw feeding. “Euthanasia by the back door,” they have termed it. Our article on p 11 criticises the media coverage, and points out how at odds it is with the Daily Mail’s previous stance on dying well.
In the media hysteria, doctors have defended the pathway. Our editorial (p 9) takes a balanced look at end-of-life care pathways, advocating their use but pointing out that even experienced doctors may struggle