Terminally ill grandmother ‘left to starve’ by doctors

Hazel Fenton, an 80-year-old grandmother who was placed under a controversial care plan and left to “starve to death” after doctors identified her as being terminally ill, only recovered after the intervention of her daughter.

By Richard Savill
The Daily Telegraph [UK]
11 Oct 2009

Mrs Fenton, from East Sussex, is still alive and “happy” nine months after doctors declared she would only survive for days, withdrew her antibiotics and denied her artificial feeding, her daughter, Christine Ball, said.

“Without my persistence and pressure I know my mother would be dead now,” she added.

Mrs Fenton, a former private school house mother, had been placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) scheme, which was originally developed as a way to care for cancer patients towards the end of their lives.

However, there has been recent criticism that not only cancer patients but others with terminal illnesses are being made to die prematurely under the NHS (National Health Service) scheme.

Last month six prominent British doctors and health care professionals wrote to The Daily Telegraph, expressing concern that some patients were being wrongly judged as close to death.

Under NHS guidance introduced in England, medical staff can withdraw fluid and drugs from dying patents and many are put on continuous sedation until they pass away. But this approach can also mask signs of improvement, it has been argued.

Miss Ball, who had been looking after her mother before she was admitted to the Conquest hospital, Hastings, East Sussex, on Jan 11, said she had to fight hospital staff for weeks before her mother was taken off the plan and given artificial feeding.

Miss Ball, 42, a carer, from Robertsbridge, East Sussex, said: “My mother was going to be left to starve and dehydrate to death. It really is a subterfuge for legalised euthanasia of the elderly on the NHS. ”

Continues at the Telegraph.

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