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.”
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: