Health Care

British Medicine's Treatment of Terminal Patients Under Fire

The "death pathway" may be a fit self-fulfilling


The controversial "death pathway" has come under renewed attack from doctors, lawyers and campaigners who said staff using it had to guess when patients were nearing the end of life.

 The Liverpool Care Pathway is aimed at providing a comfortable death for patients in their last days and hours by not subjecting them to futile treatments, but many fear it is being used inappropriately and has become "self-fulfilling".

Campaigners have criticised a consensus statement signed by 22 organisations in support of the pathway, which said it was good medical practice and did not hasten death. In their response to the agreement, the group opposing the pathway, led by Prof Patrick Pullicino, a neurologist from East Kent Hospitals, argued that it was fatally flawed.