I have been passed a document by a senior Catholic source which reveals significant disquiet over the draft “Guide to the Spiritual Care of the Dying Person” submitted to the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, which my source claims is being “rushed through”.
As the Bishops’ Conference website admits, the draft guide draws on the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), a widely used palliative care scheme which, as my colleague Martin Beckford has reported, has been accused of leading to the premature death of elderly and sick patients as doctors and nurses withdraw food and fluids too soon.
The authors of the Catholic draft guide insist that it does not sanction any form of euthanasia. On the contrary, it stresses that doctors and nurses must never do anything to shorten a person’s death intentionally – the teaching of the Catholic Church.
But its critics are not happy. In fact, they are furious that the guide is likely to be adopted after what they says is “a short and not well publicised period of ‘consultation’ “.
The document passed to me by my source, drawn up on the advice of medical experts who dislike the LCP, claims: “Neither the Catholic Medical Association, nor the Linacre Centre for Bioethics nor the joint Episcopal Bioethics Committee have yet been consulted on the text of the draft Guide which nevertheless … accepts the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) which some have seen as a means of concealing improper terminal sedation and even euthanasia …
“An endorsement of a specific clinical protocol like the LCP by the Bishops of England and Wales would be unusual, especially as there are other protocols in use, and is seen by some healthcare staff as inappropriate and even invidious and primarily a matter of clinical, rather than theological, judgment.
Interesting. Your thoughts.