“Same Old, Same Old – Hastened Departure”

This is another blog about recurring headlines that are ageist and continue to build the image of old people as a burden on society.  It is on the subject of assisted suicide which rather ominously I have written about 13 times in the last few years.  (See my earlier posts by clicking on Assisted Suicide in the TAG CLOUD).

The latest such headline was front page in the Daily Mail – 27th April 2015.

“Over 75? sign here if you’re ready for death”.

It was commenting on new NHS guidance to GP’s suggesting they draw up end-of-life plans for over 75’s and then asking them in advance of any life threatening illness if they want a “do not resuscitate” notice above their heads.

It dovetails neatly into a careless NHS that denies treatments to older patients.  It also simplifies the path to take us a step closer to assisted suicide with no recriminations.

A “Doctor Harold Shipman” recipe for later life care.

This brutal message to those over 75 is entirely inconsistent with the compassionate approach to end-of-life care we would all hope to receive.

We should be celebrating longevity, not bemoaning the additional burden it places on society.  GPs need to give advice to older people on living better lives, not dying better deaths.

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2 Responses to “Same Old, Same Old – Hastened Departure”

  1. As we approach that edge of uncertainty in older age, I wonder if instead of the NHS offering us the ‘Jump of this mortal coil service’ the government is swamped with the older generations lots of them, and we return to the ‘Old British rail excuses’ I used to hear in my younger days, or former life when travelling as an apprentice to the NE Coast, or as a seaman, away to join my ship somewhere in wales/scotland or england, or before I retired as a regular commuter on the track to the city of London!
    Can one think of the excuses, and the smiles it would bring or may bring to ones lips, as the government struggles to enviggles one to ponder about ones future?
    Leaves on the line come to mind, the autumn of life, then there is livestock on the track- this shows there is more than I or you in this world of ours, and they need time to think or do, and be helped to a place of safety (Not DOOM- but rescued from a possible doom), and then ‘no staff’ here one can only ponder are they as elderly as you or I, and does st. Peter have a Union, and do we need an annual conferance to declare our intent, as to how we shall go on living? and finally engine failure are we at our destination as a train, in some beautiful Highland Glen, or some exotic seaside in Cornwall, or Yorkshire, North Wales, or the south coast, may be the engine may start up again or we have a replacement engine/locmotive, only to be defeated by overhead power line failure or even a landside and no track? Maybe we are at our destination, good old British Rail! One had to devote time to travel, and allow for these fobles of delay! So it should be in life, and the government and NHS must be more caring, and considerate, and not so black and white with the exit sign so blatently obvious. In railway terms we need the occassional request halt so that the train while in conveys all of us as a crowd has time to deliver us as individuals to a place of our chosing.

  2. gib says:

    Sometimes doesnt it need to be said?

    My mother was recently taken into hospital as an emergency due to physical collapse, which was symtomatic of a continuing condition. When in resus and in a vulnerable physical and mental state she was asked if she wanted to be resuscitated if the worse happened. She then thought the worse was going to happen as why would the doctor say it if she wasn’t about to die?

    She had a water infection the sypmtoms of which can be dramatic but for which recovery is also dramatic once antibiotics are administered and thankfully she did recover but the low mood which followed had in part, I feel, something to do with that scare.

    I’m not blaming the Doctor who asked her, he had to know and I had been meaning to have that discussion with my parents at some point anyway in order to make a living will – I am perhaps pointing out that if it were done in a time of calmness and explained properly – ie if it were par for the course for everyone and explained as such, then it wouldn’t need to be done at times of emergency and further scare people (family members too) who might not know that they were being asked as a matter of course.

    I suppose there are various arguements for the pro’s and cons of this, one of them being that if there is the possibility that someone is literally about to die then to be sugarcoating it at that point wont make any difference anyway – but I just felt that it was unecessary stress for my mum when it happened to her and has had vague repercussions.

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