Apparantly, the term in England is “death pathway.” 

According to this article in the Daily Telegraph, a  group of doctors is raising concerns about the use of protocol designed to limited the use of medical intervention for the terminally ill, but may be shortening the lives of some patients unnecessarily:

Under NHS guidance introduced across England to help doctors and medical staff deal with dying patients, they can then have fluid and drugs withdrawn and many are put on continuous sedation until they pass away.

But this approach can also mask the signs that their condition is improving, the experts warn.

As a result the scheme is causing a “national crisis” in patient care, the letter states. …

“Forecasting death is an inexact science,”they say. Patients are being diagnosed as being close to death “without regard to the fact that the diagnosis could be wrong.

“As a result a national wave of discontent is building up, as family and friends witness the denial of fluids and food to patients.”

The warning comes just a week after a report by the Patients Association estimated that up to one million patients had received poor or cruel care on the NHS.

I know that commentors will recoil at the idea that we would import this type of activity into the United States or that this is a necessary feature of government-provided care.  And certainly, even Congressional proposals are far from instituting government-run care in the style of England, but it is a fair warning of the potential consequences of turning this kind of control over to government.  Government will have an incentive and indeed a duty to try to ration care to control expenses.  And when government makes a mistake it will affect many, many people.   Do we really want to give the feds this much power?

One question liberal readers should ask themselves is suppose the government does take-over healthcare and you get the single payer system so many of you desire.  Will you be comfortable with government having that much power when the Republicans one day control Congress and the White House?  It’s the same question that Republicans should have been asking themselves in the beginning of this decade as they expanded the Department of Education’s involvement in K-12 schools.  

We all have an interest in keeping government’s role limited since we won’t always agree with the decisions that government officials make.