"Prolong suffering or Preserve life? Pillar to..."

About: Warrington Hospital

It comes to something when an "associate specialist" - not a consultant, advises against treatment (In August 2015) as it would "only prolong his suffering". Devastated by such a statement, we went away, listening to this termination of assistance. But watching the will to live and improvements in health since his hospital discharge last July (seen in blood improvements in some areas) and speaking to other doctors and consultants who had opposing views to this specialist, why was he not receiving essential treatment that would vastly improve his quality of life? Age discrimination perhaps?

So an appointment was arranged by the GP marked "urgent" who agreed that such treatment must be considered and noted if it was his family member in the same circumstances he would want this.

Then a whole saga of mistakes - the phone call not made, letter not sent, secretaries absent, spaces were short as consultants away (again) it should have got onto the ASI list, but never did. Hospital never received referral. Eventually the very same 'associate' saw dad (now November). They admitted they thought he was dying when they saw him last time, when he waited 90 minutes to be seen. But now stated they could not admit him for blood transfusion; it had to be done through the GP!! - the one who referred dad to the department in order that we could get a second opinion from a consultant about the treatment that they failed to provide in the first place!!

From pillar to post back to pillar...

An appointment came this week for the marked urgent appointment - for two days before Christmas....but will he survive that long without such simple necessary treatment...but now get no choice as they have just cancelled the appointment with the long awaited consultant who has yet to meet dad in 3 years under his care. Not even a diagnosis as for cause of anaemia! Is this department really wishing to preserve life? The NICE guidelines are straightforward but have not been followed. Is elderly care not supposed to be about 'quality' of life, dignity and respect? But leaving someone without vital intervention is not doing that. Is the NHS and the code of ethical practice not supposed to be about preserving life and making people's lives comfortable, even in their final years? Or is it actually about letting people die and suffering in the process?

Shame on the haematology department and their so-called "associate specialist".

Clearly they fail to understand death and cannot distinguish the symptoms of their own specialism area with someone dying. But if they wait long enough before providing the appropriate treatment, their intention will become destination; they will have acted to prolong suffering, by failing to save and preserve life in comfort and dignity. A pillar to post pathway leads to prolonging suffering, rather than preserving life.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Warrington Hospital

Sorry to hear of your experience. If you'd like to contact us to discuss anything about this complex experience please contact pals@whh.nhs.uk and we can arrange to speak in more detail with you.

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