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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Over 25% not told when life support is withdrawn from relatives

15 September 2009

A national audit of 4,000 patients put on the Liverpool Care Pathway last year has found that more than a quarter of families are not told when life support is withdrawn from terminally-ill loved ones.

The audit was conducted by researchers from the Royal College of Physicians and the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute in Liverpool. Under the Pathway, doctors can withdraw food and fluids from terminally-ill patients and sedate them continuously until death.

Peter Millard, emeritus professor of geriatrics at the University of London, said: 'The risk as this is rolled out across the country is that elderly people with chronic conditions like Parkinson's or respiratory disorders may be dismissed as dying when they could still live for some time ... Only when death is unavoidable should you start withdrawing treatment. [Daily Mail, 15 September]

Other stories:

  • Pro-lifers hold vigil for Jim Pouillon
  • Dominican Republic debating total ban on abortion [Irish Sun, 15 September]
  • Guardian feature on abortion in India [Guardian, 14 September]
  • "An Australian teenager faces seven years in prison after being ordered to stand trial for organising her own home abortion in the first such prosecution in Australia in over half a century." [Times, 11 September]
  • "Tens of thousands of Scots might be donating cells for research to create cloned animal-human embryos without their consent, an ethics campaigner has warned" [Scotsman, 15 September]
  • "Tens of thousands of samples of human tissue will be offered for use in controversial human/animal hybrid embryo research without the consent of the patients who donated them" [Telegraph, 12 September]
  • "Just half of infertile women use hormonal and/or IVF treatment, an Australian study concludes" [MedWire News, 14 September]
  • Women are risking their lives to have babies by in vitro fertilisation, says IVF expert [Gulf News, 13 September]
  • "A US University settled dozens of civil lawsuits over eggs or embryos stolen by two doctors more than a decade ago, in an effort to end the scandal over its fertility centre." [Wales Online, 11 September]
  • "Croatia's government moved Thursday to amend a law on in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) after strong criticism from human rights and parents groups over its criteria for couples entitled to treatment." [AFP via Yahoo!, 10 September]
  • "Women who conceive when using an intrauterine contraceptive device have an increased risk for adverse obstetric outcomes compared with other women, conclude Israeli researchers" [MedWire News, 14 September]
  • "Woman who suffered nine miscarriages gives birth to healthy baby boy" [Daily Mail, 14 September]
  • "A woman who faked her own pregnancy has pleaded guilty to cutting open the belly of a pregnant woman and trying to remove her baby" [Irish Examiner, 14 September]
  • "Two NHS midwives have set up a private company in a bid to help pregnant women make more informed choices about the birth of their children." [Wales Online, 14 September]
  • "A 12-year-old Yemeni girl, who was forced into marriage, has died during a difficult delivery in which her baby also died" [Middle East Online, 13 September]
  • Op-ed on child abandonment [Daily Mail, 10 September]
  • Feature on women who kill pregnant mothers and steal their unborn children [Guardian, 11 September]
  • "Too many women may be undergoing hysterectomies for heavy periods when alternative treatments should be considered first, a study suggests." [BBC, 11 September]
  • New British initiative to improve maternity care [MediLexicon, 10 September]
  • Baroness Finlay responds to pro-assisted suicide BMJ editorial [BMJ, 14 September]
  • Retiring Anglican bishop of Rochester expresses concern at push for assisted suicide [Telegraph, 13 September]
  • "Lord Falconer has suggested that the Archbishop of Canterbury's stance on assisted suicide lacks Christian compassion" [Telegraph, 11 September]
  • "Families are being wrongly burdened with "agonising" life or death decisions over whether to resuscitate their loved ones, a leading expert has warned." [Telegraph, 12 September]
  • "Coroner praises 'heroic' couple who leapt to their deaths after losing son" [Scotsman, 12 September]
  • President of England's new Supreme Court says he sympathises with people seeking assisted suicide [Telegraph, 10 September]
  • 16th Mexican state amends its constitution in a pro-life direction [Catholic News Agency, 11 September]
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