Gosport - In The Vacuum of Catholic Teaching, One Man Stands Alone
Shockingly, at Gosport hospital it has been revealed that Dr Jane Barton has been implicated in the deaths of 656 patients. A report has now been published which describes an institutionalised practice and urges police to act.
Caroline Farrow made this very apposite comment on Facebook:
"650 people were killed prematurely in Gosport Memorial hospital. 650 people.This is a kind of creeping euthanasia that feeds on the perceived worthlessness of the elderly and the culture which increasingly fails to understand the dignity of the human person.
Junior whistleblowers silenced for their impudence. Difficult patients bumped off. These were the actual findings of the enquiry. Yet because the patients were elderly, no-one seems all that bothered. Certainly the authorities aren’t interested in prosecution and the legal system complicit in protecting Dr Jane Barton.
The culture was rotten. Why are we assuming that this was confined to Gosport. Especially when we hear that the syringe drivers were known to be hazardous & linked with fatal overdoses and yet the DoH covered this up.
Why was it assumed that the culture of Alder Hey and the care of Alfie Evans above reproach? Why are Catholic leaders silent about what is happening in our hospitals?
Of course a state-run system is only ever going to reflect the values of the state."
Our bishops are consistently and conspicuously silent on these vital and current issues leading to a situation where Catholics, having no guidance, broadly accept the secular narrative.
In a society which has turned away from God and the virtue circle of Christian ethics, doctors have often replaced priests as the moral arbiters of our times. We tell them our inner-most private secrets and we ask them for moral guidance on a range of hugely significant personal issues surrounding sexuality, reproductive health, family planning, end of life care.
There is a lone voice in the Catholic wilderness of the UK on this, the intelligent, articulate and ever redoubtable Bishop of Portsmouth, Philip Egan, who has issued this statement, which should be given out in every parish in the country I think.
Bishop Egan says:
"...I have long been uneasy with the concept “quality of life,” which seems to invest experts and judges with power over the life and death of an individual. I prefer the term “dignity of life,” which reminds us of the absolute good of the person and their infinite worth."The Bishop refers back to the failed Liverpool Care Pathway which, may have had noble intentions: the dignified care of the dying, the alleviation of suffering and pain, and the cessation of invasive treatments and unnecessary procedures. But asked doctors to make a definitive judgement about whether a patient is about to die or not and allowed that feeding and hydration could be summarily withdrawn. It soon became clear that those noble intentions were easily hijacked in a pressurised work environment and the Neuberger Report led to its abandonment in 2013.
Bishop Egan takes this opportunity to affirm fundamental Catholic truths:
We need to go back to basics. As Catholics, we believe that life from conception to natural death is a gift of God. It is sacred, and so every person on earth has an inviolable dignity as God’s creation. Frailty, pain and infirmity are always a difficult trial. On the one hand, we must unite our sufferings with those of Christ, finding in Him the strength, patience and energy we need to ‘carry the cross’ (Mt 16: 24), whilst offering it for the salvation of others. On the other, we rightly turn to doctors and nurses in the hope that like the angel in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22: 43), they can alleviate and heal our condition. Indeed, in today’s world, we can thank God for amazing advances in modern health- care, and not least in palliative care and pain-management at the end of life.This is the clarity from our leadership which is so desperately needed today. We should spread this pastoral message far and wide to allow Catholics to build a proper, life-affirming understanding of this difficult issue.
Thank you Bishop Egan!