Monday, 28 February 2011
Dying to get home
Death is the last taboo in our society and yet it is something we must all face. We strive to live a good life and yet some people are being denied a good death. Despite government promises to allow everyone the right to choose to die at home, half of primary care trusts are still not providing the 24-hour nursing care required to make that a possibility.
Channel 4’s Dispatches uncovered the case of 80-year-old Ken Rasheed, who spent his last days in East Surrey Hospital with Parkinson’s and pneumonia. Nursing staff seemed to have no idea he was close to death, and are filmed telling him off for not swallowing his pills – even though he was so ill he could only swallow them with yoghurt rather than water.
One nurse is filmed telling him impatiently: ‘This is a busy ward; [other] people need some care as well’, as her colleagues callously discuss the impact of spending cuts while leaning over Mr Rasheed to change him. To make things worse, he contracted E.coli and septicaemia while on the ward. He eventually died in hospital – despite wanting to die at home in front of a Manchester United game or a cricket match.
Dispatches, Secret NHS Diaries is on at 8pm tonight on Channel 4.