Saturday, 14 July 2012

Dying without dignity or choice

On Friday, (at about the time the island workforce was going home so nobody would be paying attention) the Manx government's Department of (ill) Health announced that their dodgy survey on ‘End of Life Care’ is done and dusted.
The title of the press release (‘Dignity and choice at the heart of Island’s first ever End of Life Care Framework’) is an outright lie. The plan offers neither to any dying person with more than a few functioning brain cells and the desire to actually choose, rather than be told, how to die. The opening sentence, in which it is claimed that the framework comes “after 18 months of a detailed research and analysis into end of life care elsewhere, as well as a review of the care available in the Isle of Man”, is also untrue. Even the briefest glance at the 38 page document reveals that SO did not happen..
Looking at some of the shady characters with cheesy grins on the photo accompanying the release, this should surprise nobody. Take a peek at  and see what I mean.
Turning to what is laughingly described as a ‘care plan’ itself (see ), as soon as I saw the quote from Cicely Saunders (the superstitious airhead behind the ’Hospice Movement’) I started to suspect how poorly this ‘survey’ was done. Any government publication which includes – anywhere - material from someone lauded by those notorious religious apologists the Templeton Foundation deserves to be treated with utter, utter contempt. Beside Saunders, other winners of the Templeton Prize include religious marketer and all round bigot Billy Graham and Mother Teresa, that notorious economic parasite on the poor and dying. I think you catch my drift.
But, being a proper researcher, I did try to set gut instincts aside, so then looked at what documents were quoted in the appendices. Sadly, the narrow, one-sided and utterly inadequate selection of ‘research material’ further confirmed my suspicions.
Then I checked the names on the ‘steering group’, only to find far too many names I’ve learnt to associate with an ability to swallow whole religious, pseudo-moralistic twaddle (and at least two who I know never take a moral decision without consulting a priest) or to bury anything resembling evidence that the government policy they are paid to produce might just be flawed.
The ‘plan’ runs to 38 pages, but I could summarize it in four sentences.
“We’re superstitious and so are most of our tunnel-visioned friends. We don’t listen to anyone else – especially if they have academic or professional experience which contradicts our childish beliefs. Dying? Not our problem, once we’ve milked you for all we can you’re on your own.”

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