Ken Connor

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."

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.