The Normalization of Medical Homicide

     When euthanasia was declared a medical procedure it was inevitable that it would be wielded by doctors, nurses, and hospital staff not only against those with a terminal disease who were in pain, but as a tool to eliminate undesirables. There has been no more clear example of this than the U.K.’s National Healthcare System (NHS).

“The report of The Gosport Independent Panel into Gosport War Memorial Hospital found that only 45% of those administered terminal quantities of diamorphine (which can be appropriate in alleviating severe pain at the very end of life) were said to be in pain. Many of the case studies showed that even where pain was noted, it was not properly assessed, and the effect of medication was not monitored.

“In 29% of cases, no reason or rationale was given for prescribing the lethal doses. In 26%, reasons were given that would “rarely, if ever, be regarded as appropriate indications,” such as deterioration, distress, or agitation.”

Death, Rx

     Some of the reasons are horrifying.

     It was used to kill off someone with a learning disability, despite being admitted for the purpose of rehabilitation after a broken bone:

“78-year-old Ethel Thurston, who had learning difficulties, […] was admitted with a fractured femur.

“At another hospital, the doctor assessed her as having the ‘physical potential to remobilise’ and she was admitted to Gosport War Memorial Hospital for rehabilitation, care and mobilisation. Within days, Dr Barton wrote on her notes ‘please keep comfortable. I am happy for nursing staff to confirm death.’ These euphemistic words appeared on many patients’ records, despite them for the most part being admitted for respite or rehabilitation, not end of life care. The panel also found that the medical team were putting patients onto end of life pathways without proper consultation with them or their families.”

     Yes, the unilaterally killed someone with reasoning reminiscent of the Nazi’s “Action T4.

     They also went after patients who were “difficult” and couldn’t consent:

“[One doctor] defended the use of diamorphine on a lady with dementia who was ‘not [in] physical pain but not happy, not comfortable, not easy to look after.’ Commenting on a report condoning her actions, the panel said: ‘This is an extraordinary conclusion, explicitly condoning the use of large doses of diamorphine simply to control symptoms of confusion and agitation, contrary to all relevant guidance.'”

     Sometimes, they just kill off patients because they don’t like them:

“[T]he ones most likely to get the treatment appeared to be not the sickest, but the most ‘difficult’. As the stepson of one of the victims remarked: ‘If a nurse didn’t like you, you were a goner.'”

     The report of The Gosport Independent Panel can be read below:

Report of The Gosport Independent Panel into Gosport War Memorial Hospital by ThePoliticalHat on Scribd

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2 Responses to The Normalization of Medical Homicide

  1. Pingback: Late Night With In The Mailbox: 07.24.18 : The Other McCain

  2. avatar Jade Sea says:


    I can tell you from experience that patients often look like entirely different people when they come back for follow up days or weeks after an admission. When you meet them in distress, ill and in pain, confused, unwashed or irritable, wearing the hospital gown that grays even the most vivacious of people, you are not seeing the entire person.

    Doctors and nurses need the humility to see the person who may not be visible when you are seeing that person in the setting of illness. On the other side of the aisle I see the bias when I take my handicapped adult daughter in for care. If she does not feel well, I have to aggressively advocate for her her or they will be lackadaisical in the care offered.

    A partner recently gave follow up on a patient who spent weeks in the hospital. I have to admit thinking “should we be doing all this when his progress is so slow” as the rounding physician. Now this man is kayaking and traveling, living a full life a year later. A “new man” as it were. Thank God we did not give up on him when he was terribly sick.

    We in the medical profession need to be pro-life, comprehensively. That doesn’t mean we don’t offer end of life “comfort care” when appropriate. It means we approach withdrawal of aggressive care with prayerful thoughtfulness and great humility, and that we don’t give in to the death culture that surrounds us.

    BTW Hat – thanks for your great site. I lurk but never comment. Like what you are doing.