Killing Them Softly?


During the months leading up to the passage of Obamacare, Sarah Palin was mocked and excoriated for her use of the term “death panels” to describe the comparative effectiveness approach embraced by architects of the legislation.  Granted, the phrase sounds a bit hyperbolic, and downright macabre.  Who could possibly be in favor of faceless bureaucrats making life and death decisions for the sick and dying?  Mrs. Palin was just appealing to the fear and ignorance of America’s Bible-thumping, gun-clinging know-nothings in flyover country.  Right?  A majority of the world’s nations employ some kind of single-payer, government-run health care system, and they don’t have “death panels.”

Or do they?

For a glimpse of what to expect from government-controlled healthcare, we need only look across the pond to our British cousins.  Developed by the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute in Liverpool, England, and endorsed by the U.K. Department Health and the British Medical Journal, the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient (LCP) is “an integrated care pathway that is used at the bedside to drive up sustained quality of the dying in the last hours and days of life.  It is a means to transfer the best quality for care of the dying from the hospice movement into other clinical areas, so that wherever the person is dying there can be an equitable model of care.”

Sounds innocent enough.  After all, when a person is terminally-ill or injured and there is no reasonable hope for recovery, the best the medical community can do is to make the patient as comfortable as possible, striving to provide an environment where the patient can die with dignity, surrounded by trusted doctors and cherished loved ones.  There’s more to this story, however.  The LCP is now under investigation by government officials after reports surfaced that the process is being implemented on sick and disabled newborn babies.

According to testimony by a doctor that has presided over the protracted death of ten babies on the LCP, “They wish for their child to die quickly once the feeding and fluids are stopped.  They wish for pneumonia.  They wish for no suffering.  They wish for no visible changes to their precious baby. . . .  I know, as they cannot, the unique horror of witnessing a child become smaller and shrunken, as the only route out of a life that has become excruciating to the patient or to the parents who love their baby.”

Writing on the British Medical Journal’s website in response to this chilling testimony, consulting neonatologist Laura de Rooy said of babies placed on the LCP: “It is a huge supposition to think they do not feel hunger or thirst.”

From the same Daily Mail article:

“Bernadette Lloyd, a hospice paediatric nurse, has written to the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health to criticise the use of death pathways for children.  She said: “The parents feel coerced, at a very traumatic time, into agreeing that this is correct for their child whom they are told by doctors has only has a few days to live.  It is very difficult to predict death.  I have seen a ‘reasonable’ number of children recover after being taken off the pathway.  I have also seen children die in terrible thirst because fluids are withdrawn from them until they die.  I witnessed a 14 year-old boy with cancer die with his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth when doctors refused to give him liquids by tube.  His death was agonising for him, and for us nurses to watch.  This is euthanasia by the backdoor.”

There you have it, folks, in living color.  Euthanasia by the backdoor being touted as “best practices” medicine.  It seems barbaric that the ancient Greeks left unwanted babies on remote hillsides to die of exposure, yet in the 21st century so-called civilized people are doing the same thing to the most vulnerable among us, only under the sterile lights of hospital neonatal wards and under the guise of “palliative care.”

Make no mistake about it, this is killing, not letting die.  We treat our dogs better than this.   It would be infinitely more humane to put a bullet in these babies’ heads, or to administer a lethal injection, but then that would bring into sharp focus the reality of what doctors and health care providers are doing to these infants.

The gruesome practices being uncovered in Britain’s medical system are the inevitable result of placing government bureaucrats in charge of health care decisions.  The “experts” that crafted the LCP do not have to sit at the bedside of a starving, dehydrating baby while it dies a slow and agonizing death.  For them the only concerns are theoretical ones.  Does their policy seem reasonable?  Is it a way to save money and maximize human resources?  If so, then promulgate it as “best practices” and pat yourselves on the back for saving the Queen’s treasury a few pennies.  Never mind that your theory, when implemented, will cause untold emotional and physical suffering for real people in the real world. (As it turns out, the same newspaper that reported the story about infants being placed on the LCP has recently discovered that nearly half of all patients placed on the “pathway” are never informed that life support is being withdrawn until it is too late.)

I can recall visiting the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C., during the time of the Terry Schiavo controversy.    An entire  room was devoted to how the  German medical community was complicit  in the Fuhrer’s objective of eliminating the mentally and physically handicapped from the Aryan race.   Of course, as we know, this objective was expanded to include Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and any other group the government deemed unwanted or unworthy.

Can it happen here in America?   You bet.   How can we resist it?    Members of the health care community must rise up and insist that their role is to cure and not to  kill.   Members of the public must express their outrage and treat those who participate  in these dastardly deeds as pariahs.    Policymakers must insist on stopping the state-sanctioned elimination of those with “lives not worth living,” a phrase coined by the social engineers of the Third Reich.  We must reclaim the sanctity of life ethic that is rooted in the notion  that human beings are made in the image of God.   We  must rail against the notion that a human being’s “net worth” is calculated based on their instrumental use to society.

In an era where we have embraced a radical view of the separation between Church and State, refusing to permit religious values to influence our public policies, it is little wonder that Big Brother is more and more becoming our persecutor rather than our protector.  Unless something changes, we can be certain that once our utility is gone and our lives are deemed as not worthy of living, there will be no one there to speak on our behalf when the government decides to pull the plug.


About Author

Kenneth L. Connor is the Chairman of the Center for a Just Society, 1220 L St. NW, Suite 100-371, Washington, DC 20005. Email: and website:

  • somebigguy

    The current president, Barack Obama, is all for euthanasia. Witness the fact that as an Illinois state senator, he tried to decriminalize the murder of babies who survived abortion. Only a wishful thinker would believe that Obamacare does not institutionalize euthanasia.