Tag Archives: NHS

UK children as young as three could receive help to change their gender from NHS via Skype call

From Daily Mail: Children as young as three could be helped to change gender by doctors on the basis of just a Skype phone call under plans being considered by the NHS.

A controversial clinic, which helps thousands of children to change gender every year, says that it has become so overwhelmed by patients that it could be forced to set children on a path to a new sex on the basis of ‘telemedical’ appointments.

The startling development is likely to cause an outcry among critics of the clinic’s work, who will argue that it is impossible to evaluate a child’s suitability for such radical treatment over the phone.

Internal reports produced for the directors of the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, argue that without such radical changes the clinic could be forced to shut down due to an exodus of demoralised staff.

The plan for sex change by Skype comes as the clinic faces growing pressure from psychologists who say it uses untested drugs on troubled children and ‘rushes’ them towards becoming transgender.

Last year 2,590 children were referred to the clinic, a rise of more than 400 per cent since 2013, leading to a two-year waiting list.

Ten of the children were aged three or four and dozens more were of primary-school age. The treatment includes giving the children hormone-blocking drugs.

The GIDS reports, which have been seen by this newspaper, reveal that the clinic has started testing ‘some of the practicalities involved in identifying young people and families to be considered for treatment appointments delivered with telemedicine’.

It uses technology such as Skype and FaceTime to allow doctors to diagnose and prescribe treatment for patients hundreds or thousands of miles away.

The reports, which were presented to the directors last month, reveal that publicity about the clinic’s work has led to a surge in demand for its services and an increase in waiting times, leading to a growing burden on staff.

The report warns that the situation was becoming so serious that ‘the service could be decommissioned by the NHS’.

Last night, a spokesman for the Tavistock and Portman Trust said: ‘Using digital technologies to increase efficiency and to enhance patient experience where appropriate is an area of development across the NHS.

‘The Trust is working to minimise waiting times and make clinical support easier to access, including eliminating travel time for young people and their families, which will also allow us to offer appointments earlier and later in the day.

‘As with the rest of the NHS, innovations like telemedicine are an addition and will not mean the removal or inability to access face-to-face consultations.

‘The Trust and GIDS welcome all open and informed discussion and decision-making around the best way to support young people experiencing difficulties or distress around their gender identity.’

An NHS source said that NHS England ‘would continue to work with the Trust and the service to seek changes that will address waiting times and support continued improvement of the service delivered’.

h/t Weasel Zippers

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UK taxpayers paid millions to lawyers who successfully fought government attempts to deport suspected terrorists & illegal aliens

I see we aren’t the only country spending insane amounts of tax payer dollars on criminals.

From the Telegraph: Taxpayers have had to foot a £57.5 million bill to pay off lawyers who successfully fought Home Office attempts to deport suspected terrorists, foreign criminals and illegal immigrants.

They have had to pay or settle the legal costs of lawyers who have often used European human rights laws to outflank the Home Office and win cases for their clients.

The 6,098 cases covering four years from 2014/15 to 2017/18 have involved foreign criminals, illegal immigrants and asylum seekers whom the Government unsuccessfully attempted to send back to their homelands, according to figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws.

It includes lawyers for hate preacher Abu Qatada who got £57,000 from the Home Office after they initially defeated its bid to send him back to Jordan to face terrorism charges. The Home Office paid their charges at a rate of £330 an hour.

Two former justice ministers today urge Boris Johnson and the Government to rethink the practice to end such big pay-outs. Mike Penning, a former policing and justice minister, said: “The Prime Minister needs to add this to his list of legislation that needs to be changed.

“If these people have been convicted and are not conducive to the public good, people won’t understand why we are paying out this money to lawyers abusing the legal system rather than spending it on the NHS.”

Oliver Heald, who was also a former Government law officer as solicitor general, said the Home Office should pay out where there was a serious mistake, but any awards should be “taxed on a reasonable basis so that it’s not possible to make a fortune out of these cases.

“They should be decided on a moderate basis rather than an expensive one. This is something the Ministry of Justice may wish to review.”

The £57.5 million for the 6,000 cases – equivalent to 30 every week for four years – excludes the additional £28.4 million that the Government had to pay for its own legal costs. The total of £86 million means the average case ends up costing the taxpayer more than £14,000 in legal fees.

Complex procedures around legal fees mean the Government can be forced to pay out extra payments on top of these to lawyers who successfully challenge legal rulings.

It is supposed to act as compensation to solicitors who may take on some cases where they lose and then end up potentially out of pocket with nobody to pay their costs.

But others believe the “No Win No Fee” culture has gone too far with lawyers able to get away with huge costs’ bills for winning cases against the state.

Read the whole story here.

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Five million Brits to be offered free personalized DNA reports

First of all, anything coming from the government is NOT free.

Secondly, why in the world would you voluntarily turn over your DNA to the government?

From the Telegraph: Five million Britons will be offered free gene tests on the NHS, helping to predict their risk of major diseases. Under the plans, individuals will be able to volunteer to receive personalised reports, setting out analysis based on their DNA.

Ministers said the anonymised data will be used to develop a new generation of personalised treatments.

Experts said this would allow individuals to make lifestyle changes, or ensuring they are targeted with the right medications.

But plans to give healthy people the option of paying to have their DNA analysed by the NHS are understood to have been scrapped.

Health officials said a £79m Government investment, backed by £160 million from charities and businesses, would be used to support research on early diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease including dementia and cancer.

Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said: “Prioritising life-saving research and innovation means we can unlock solutions to deadly conditions like cancer, dementia and heart disease – saving lives and securing the health of the next generation.

“To achieve this we must harness the power of technology, so I am delighted with today’s investment from businesses and charities – a huge boost for healthcare innovation which will help patients lead longer, happier lives.”

Earlier this year the Health Secretary revealed that he is at heightened risk of developing prostate cancer as he urges the NHS to roll out gene testing more widely. Matt Hancock said tests found he has a 15 per cent chance of suffering prostate cancer by the age of 75 – a risk about 1.5 times greater than the average man.

The Health Secretary, 40, said the news had left him worried, saying he would be seeking a blood test from his GP, and ensuring he did not miss any screening appointments.

But critics accused him of “astonishing ignorance” saying his score would not be considered high risk, and could come down to a “margin of error.”

The NHS normally only provides PSA blood tests – which can show an increased risk of prostate cancer – from the age of 50, if requested. There is no NHS screening programme for prostate cancer.

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UK woman learns she was misdiagnosed with breast cancer after having double mastectomy

From Yahoo: A woman has been left “unnecessarily traumatized” after she was misdiagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer that forced her to undergo a grueling amount of treatments and surgery.

Sarah Boyle is still struggling to come to grips with the fact that because of a “human error” she underwent an unnecessary double mastectomy and chemotherapy nearly three years ago, BBC News reported. “Being told I had cancer was awful, but then to go through all of the treatment and surgery, to then be told it was unnecessary was traumatizing,” the Stoke-on-Trent, England native told the outlet.

The heartbreaking experience began at the end of 2016 when Boyle, then a 25-year-old mother of one, started having difficulty breastfeeding her son.

At the time, Boyle said she noticed her son Teddy, then six-months-old, appearing “very distressed” as she attempted to feed him from her right breast, according to the BBC. After going to Royal Stoke Hospital in England, Boyle underwent a biopsy and scan. Doctors then diagnosed her with triple-negative breast cancer and immediately sent her for chemotherapy treatment.

Boyle eventually underwent a double mastectomy and later, reconstructive surgery, according to the outlet. She was also told that the aggressive cancer treatments could potentially harm her fertility.

It wasn’t until July 2017, however, that Boyle’s doctor told the mother of one she was misdiagnosed and did not actually have cancer, according to The Telegraph.

Boyle’s lawyers told the local newspaper that the mistake occurred because a biopsy sample had been incorrectly recorded.

In a statement to The Telegraph, a spokesperson from the University Hospital of North Midlands NHS Trust, the company that owns Royal Stokes Hospital, apologized and revealed that the misdiagnosis was due to a “human error.”

They also said that all cancer diagnoses are now checked by a second pathologist before a determination is made.

“A misdiagnosis of this kind is exceptionally rare and we understand how devastating this has been for Sarah and her family,” the rep said. “Ultimately the misreporting of the biopsy was a human error so as an extra safeguard all invasive cancer diagnoses are now reviewed by a second pathologist.”

Representatives at University Hospital of North Midlands NHS Trust did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Since the misdiagnosis, Boyle, now 28, has welcomed another child, a son named Louis, with her husband Stephen, 31. The family of four is working on moving forward after the traumatic experience.

“The past few years have been incredibly difficult for me and my family,” Boyle told The Telegraph. “While I was delighted when I gave birth to Louis [born Dec. 2018], it was really heartbreaking when I couldn’t breastfeed him.”

Though she doesn’t currently have cancer, the mother of two also said she’s anxious about her future because of the treatment and surgery she has already endured.

“As if [being unable to breastfeed] wasn’t bad enough, I am now worried about the possibility of actually developing cancer in the future because of the type of implants I have,” she explained to the newspaper. “I am also worried about complications that I may face because of my chemotherapy.”

Read the whole story here.

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The beauty of government-run healthcare: NHS waiting lists hit another record with 4.4 Million people waiting for ROUTINE operations

From Daily Mail: The NHS waiting list has hit another record high with almost 4.4 million people now waiting for routine treatment.

For a third month running the figure has risen to a new high, increasing by a quarter of a million people between February and May alone.

Other statistics also revealed by NHS England today show the number of A&E patients stuck on trolleys waiting for an inpatient bed has increased by 70 per cent in a year.

Health leaders said the next Prime Minister must tackle the problem or risk ‘chaos’ in the health service.

With waiting times at A&E departments worse in May and June this year than in the run-up to Christmas, it has been feared the NHS is now in a ‘year-round-crisis’.

The Royal College of Nursing Director in England, Patricia Marquis, said the total 4.39 million waiting list did not come as a shock. ‘This is no surprise when NHS England themselves attribute the delays highlighted in the monthly waiting time statistics to “continued staffing and bed pressures”,’ she said. ‘A new Prime Minister will have no alternative but to get a grip on this situation.

‘Today’s statistics show that whether it’s a hospital treatment, a cancer diagnosis or care or a simple GP appointment, patients are having to wait longer and longer.

‘With one in ten nursing posts currently vacant in England alone, the situation will not change unless the NHS manages to recruit more staff.’

The waiting times refer to patients who are waiting for routine but important operations such as joint replacements. Those included in the 4.39 million on the waiting list are the ones who have been referred for surgery by a specialist but have not yet had the procedure.

May’s figure was around 90,000 higher than April’s. The rise, from 4.3 million to 4.39 million people. In comparison, a year ago there were 4.09 million people on the list, and two years earlier it was 3.81 million.

More than 1,000 patients have been waiting more than a year for their treatment – however this figure has slowly been decreasing over the past few months.

Read the whole story here.

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Limited resources: Elderly in Britain left to go blind due to NHS rationing cataract surgeries

The Straits Times has a report about how the elderly are going blind as they are being refused for eye surgery. Apparently the NHS has limited resources.

Ain’t socialized medicine grand?

From the Straits Time story:

Thousands of elderly people in Britain are left to go blind because of rationing of eye surgery in the National Health Service (NHS), a report revealed on Saturday (April 6).

The Times newspaper said a survey by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO) found tens of thousands of elderly people are left struggling to see because of an NHS cost-cutting drive that relies on them dying before they can qualify for cataract surgery.

The survey has found that the NHS has ignored instructions to end cataract treatment rationing in defiance of official guidance two years ago.

The RCO said its survey has found 62 per cent of eye units retain policies that require people’s vision to have deteriorated below a certain point before surgery is funded.

With more than 400,000 cataract operations carried out each year, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) concluded that there was no justification for policies that denied patients cataract removal surgery until they could barely see.

The RCO said that refusal to fund surgery was insulting and called into question the entire system through which the NHS approves treatments.

Ms. Helen Lee of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) said: “Cataracts can have a dramatic impact on someone’s ability to lead a full and independent life, potentially stopping them from driving and increasing their chance of serious injury by falling. The NICE guidelines make it clear cataract surgery is highly cost effective and should not be rationed. It is nonsensical for clinical commissioning groups to deny patients this crucial treatment.

Ms. Julie Wood, CEO of NHS Clinical Commissioners, which represents local funding bodies, defended the restrictions.

She told the Times: “NICE guidance is not mandatory and clinical commissioners must have the freedom to make clinically led decisions that are in the best interests of both individual patients and their wider local populations. The NHS does not have unlimited resources.

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NHS nightmare: Cancer patient who filled cups with blood & not diagnosed for 10 months dies

Ain’t socialized health care grand?

From Daily Mirror: A newly-wed who allegedly wasn’t diagnosed with bowel cancer for 10 months despite “filling cups with blood” when she went to the toilet, has died.

Gemma Epstein, who married two days before dying on December 20, was told by doctors to “take each day as it comes”.

She was fighting for her life and had to pay around £2,000 a month for drugs she could not get on the NHS. Her family had also set up a fundraising page to try and raise the cash for last-ditch treatment in Germany that they hoped could help her.

However, Gemma died just before Christmas as the cancer was so aggressive that no treatment could help her.
Gemma had started paying for Avastin in the hope it would shrink her tumours, as she had been told by the NHS she could not have the drug because they no longer use it.

The 37-year-old believed that had family doctors acted sooner she might have been not been facing such a bleak future.

On December 12, Gemma was told the cancer was too aggressive for Avastin to work on its own without chemotherapy.
Eight days later, her sister, Becky Epstein uploaded an emotional post to Facebook confirming her death. She said: “Gemma passed away this morning at 8am with her husband by her side. An unbelievably beautiful, courageous and inspirational lady who touched so many people throughout her life. We are so very proud of how bravely and fiercely she fought her illness, right until the very end, she is now at peace. RIP my beautiful big sister ”

Tributes poured in online from those who knew Gemma.

Speaking today, sister Becky, 34, said: “The doctor told her no more Avastin, no more chemo. Take each day as it comes. She broke down. She deteriorated every day and we didn’t know how long she had left. The day before she died, she said ‘I don’t think I will be here tomorrow’.”

Becky said that despite her sister appearing to know her fate, it was still a shock when she died. “Nothing can prepare you for that. It was such a shock. It is such a shame. We didn’t even have enough time to get used to her new name.”

Gemma had married her partner Ben Greenwood at Pendleside Hospice in Burnley, Lancashire two days before her death.
Gemma, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, first went to her doctor in the spring of 2015.

The 37-year-old had visited a number of GPs and walk-in centres over a ten month period before her diagnosis but could not get answers. It was not until April 2016, after repeated visits to GP practices in NHS Greater Manchester and NHS England North, that Gemma was finally referred to a consultant.

Speaking earlier this month Becky described what Gemma was going through. She said: “She was going to the GP in pain and she was filling cups full of blood. They kept telling her nothing was wrong and they couldn’t find anything. If the cancer was caught sooner it would have been operated on sooner.”

Gemma’s funeral will take place in Haslingden, Lancashire, where she lived, on Monday January 7.

NHS England has been approached for comment.

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The joys of socialized healthcare: Children in Northern Ireland wait over a year for surgeries

government solve all problems
From BBC: Wearing pajamas and fluffy slippers, she treads carefully, held up on either side by a Turkish nurse.
Megan flew to Istanbul for private surgery late last year, having been told she faced long delays for an operation to fix the deformation of her spine, which was causing her problems breathing.
When the healthcare trust in Belfast told her parents it would be at least a year before she could have the procedure, they felt they had no choice but to fundraise for treatment.
Through the generosity of strangers, the money was raised – but surgery to insert four metal rods into her spine was painful and expensive, costing about £30,000.
Just a few days after treatment, 14-year-old Megan had to board a plane home to Northern Ireland. “But I was so happy, because I just wanted it over and done with, and to get back on the road to recovery,” she says.
For her mother, Karen Fleming, though, the upset and uncertainty still plays on her mind. And she is angry on behalf of dozens of other children still waiting for similar treatment. “It’s a shambles. It’s a mess,” she says.
“It’s no fault of the surgeons. It’s no fault of the nurses. But it’s awful. It’s just seeing your child in pain every day, knowing that you can’t help them. And the only way for a lot of families is to fundraise, or actually to remortgage your house.”
In Northern Ireland, targets say most patients should be seen within nine weeks and none should wait over 15 weeks.
Curvature of the spine:
Just a few miles away from Megan’s home in Carrickfergus, we visit 16-year-old Sophie Tanner in Belfast. She waited 20 months for the same operation, to correct curvature of the spine, before it was cancelled the day before surgery.
Her parents were delighted when Sophie was then offered the procedure in Stanmore hospital, in Middlesex.  It went well but took 14 hours instead of the eight it was supposed to. Nevertheless, the operation has taken the pressure off her heart and lungs and she has made a very good recovery.
But Sophie’s parents say having to wait as long as she did was unacceptable. “What most people in Northern Ireland want is the same treatment as the rest of the UK,” says her father, Eddie.
“We’re part of the UK, so we think that the waiting lists should be similar. We pay taxes. We pay National Insurance. We would expect the powers to be to make sure that places are pretty equal.
Surgeon: ‘We have no choice’
Spinal surgeon Niall Eames, in Belfast, says the health service is doing what it can to restructure itself and offer surgery faster. But in the short term he has no choice but to tell many children they need to expect long waits.
“Telling a child that they can’t have the operation when they need and want the operation – it’s completely inappropriate,” he says.
“Obviously it’s terrible for the patients. It’s awful for them. But equally for the healthcare people involved in the caring, the managers, the nurses, the consultants, the staff – it’s awful not being able to offer the treatment we know they require in a timely manner.”
New data from the Royal College of Surgeons shows the problem in Northern Ireland is getting worse.
At the end of 2017, there were more than 14,000 patients waiting over a year for treatment, with more than 3,000 waiting over two years.
In Northern Ireland that represents nearly one in 100 people.  By comparison there are about 1,800 people waiting over a year for surgery in England.
The Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Board, which runs the NHS, said: “The system is under huge pressure and the waiting times experienced by many patients continue to be unacceptable.
“There simply isn’t either the money or required staffing levels to sustain the current model of care.”
But the Department of Health in Northern Ireland said it had announced a £30 million investment in tackling hospital waiting lists in the current year. However, the money has not yet reached the frontline.
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Here we go again: UK hospital applies to High Court to switch off baby Alfie's life support

alfie evans liverpool Echo photo

Alfie Evans/Liverpool Echo photo


It’s the Charlie Gard case all over again. That’s the UK’s NHS system for you.
From Daily Mirror: The parents of Alfie Evans have spoken of their “living nightmare” after a hospital advised switching off their baby son’s life support, it is claimed.
Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool has applied to the High Court to switch off life support for the 18-month-old in a coma, the Liverpool Echo understands.
Alfie’s dad has spoken of their “devastation” and “disappointment” after the hospital reportedly said they had exhausted all options in trying to diagnose and treat the infant’s mystery brain condition.
It comes shortly after Alfie’s parents Thomas Evans and Kate James, both 20, said that after months of searching they had finally found a hospital abroad that was willing to take him.
But a letter to them, seen by the Liverpool Echo, shows Alder Hey are opposing the move to an Italian children’s hospital – and are stepping up the battle over Alfie’s life by taking the matter to court.
The Alder Hey letter says the hospital has asked the High Court to rule that it is legal and in Alfie’s best interest for long-term ventilation and intensive care to be withdrawn.
It says: “The trust’s position is that it does not consider the provision of continued mechanical ventilation nor the move to Italy to be in Alfie’s best interests. The application also asks the court to make a declaration that it is in Alfie’s best interests to be transferred to a hospice setting and to be treated on a palliative pathway with appropriate end of life care.
Mr. Evans from Bootle, told the Liverpool Echo: “It’s devastating – we feel so disappointed. I feel Alfie is being ignored, let down and not given a chance. “Why should we take him to a hospice when there’s a hospital happy to take him? Alder Hey were watching us work so hard to get this hospital – now we’ve got an offer and a doctor willing to come over, but they’ve refused to speak with him. “Now we are starting to go through a living nightmare. They are making it 10 times worse.”
Tens of thousands of people have formed “Alfie’s Army” over the past year to support and fundraise for the family, including many supporters of Charlie Gard’s parents in their legal fight.
Charlie died aged 11 months following his family’s court battle to send him to the US for treatment.
The reported decision by Alder Hey comes after months of fraught discussions between Alfie’s parents and the hospital over what to do to help their son.
An Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said: “We understand that this is an incredibly difficult time for the family concerned and we continue to liaise directly with them. We are unable to comment on individual cases. Alder Hey is a specialist children’s hospital which therefore means we treat many children with often complex, life threatening conditions.
Unfortunately despite the best efforts of our clinicians, some of these children are sadly unable to recover from their illness. In such a situation, medical professionals will meet to discuss the most appropriate care plan going forward, focusing on the comfort, wellbeing and best interests of the child concerned.
The Trust will often seek advice from specialist clinicians at other trusts. The care plan is always discussed in full with the family to aim to reach agreement between clinicians and parents about the most appropriate care. We also seek input from the families concerned and this may extend to include review by experts instructed by the family.
Understandably these cases place families under great pressure. We will always seek to reach agreement with parents of the child concerned but there will be some rare situations where agreement cannot be reached and the treating team believe that continued active treatment is not in a child’s best interests. In these cases the Trust will refer a case to the Family Division of the High Court and seek a determination as to the best interests of the child. In all such cases we will also invite the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service to consider the case and provide independent representation of the child.”
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High Court denies parents of Charlie Gard the right to determine treatment for the last days of his life

charlie gard and family
Statism alive and well in the UK.
From Daily Mail: A High Court judge has given Charlie Gard’s parents until midday tomorrow to reach an agreement with Great Ormond Street Hospital on arrangements for the end of his life.
Mr. Justice Francis said the 11-month-old will be transferred to a hospice where his ventilation tube will be removed if doctors and his parents fail to reach a compromise about how he should be cared for in his final moments.
Charlie’s parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard had said it was their final wish to take him home to ‘slip away’ in his cot before his first birthday.
Both his parents and doctors have now conceded that he should move to a hospice – but continue to disagree over the detail of care plans. Miss Yates and Mr. Gard wanted to spend a week at a hospice with Charlie before he died.
But Great Ormond Street bosses said they were not satisfied that a properly-qualified specialist would be in control under the parents’ plan, and said life-support treatment should end shortly after Charlie arrived at a hospice.
A family friend said the pair, ‘will be devastated they have not been granted their final wishes as parents.’  
Charlie is only expected to spend a few hours in a hospice because they are not licensed to be able to look after him for more than a few hours once the ventilator is taken off.
Miss Yates was in court today wearing a heart-shaped pendant engraved with ‘Charlie’ while Mr. Gard continued the vigil at their son’s bedside.   Before the judge returned to court, Miss Yates sobbed and said: ‘I don’t want to be in the same room as him.’ 
Apparently referring to the lawyers for the hospital, she added: ‘I hope you are happy with yourself. How can you do that? What if it was your child?’ before running out of court crying. 
On Monday, Miss Yates, 31, and Mr. Gard, 33, reduced the High Court to tears by making the agonising decision to let Charlie die after an eight-month legal battle. 
They accepted their 11-month-old, who has mitochondrial disease, was now beyond hope of any cure – which they blamed on ‘a lot of wasted time’ by medics – and would not live to see his first birthday on Friday next week.
But their plan to take Charlie home, give him baths and let him sleep in his cot before saying their final goodbyes on Monday next week were dashed by the hospital.
Great Ormond Street said he should go to a hospice – or stay with them – because his ventilator won’t fit through the front door and doctors fear he could suffer pain or a ‘distressing or disordered death’.
A family friend said: ‘The hospital have set the bar so high that in terms of clinical team for Charlie’s end of life nothing seemed good enough for gosh. The reality is Charlie is very stable, not in pain and rarely needs a doctor. It is therefore difficult to understand why Charlie could not die at home.
‘All he needs is a ventilator which pumps room air into his lungs. It is extraordinarily sad that there’s been so much fuss about him dying at home.  Connie and Chris have conceded a hospice but it was not their first choice. They will be devastated they have not been granted their final wishes as parents.’ 
Read the rest of this distressing story here.
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