Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Doctors Accused Of Trying To Kill Off OAP

An investigation has been launched after the family of an elderly stroke victim claimed hospital doctors tried to end his life.

John MacGillivray and daughter Patricia

John MacGillivray with his daughter Patricia

John MacGillivray, 78, from Auchterarder, was admitted to Perth Royal Infirmary having suffered a stroke on May 22.

Two days later, his family were told by hospital doctors he would die within hours.

His daughter Patricia MacGillivray told Sky News: "It was to our shock, we just couldn't believe it.

"When he was admitted to the hospital on the Friday he was still able to move around and feed himself and suddenly here we all were being told 50% of his brain was dead and he was definitely going to die that Sunday night and to prepare ourselves to say our goodbyes.

"It was unimaginable. All too much, too quickly, too soon.

The only conclusion we can draw is that they were trying to euthanise my father. He wasn't getting the right treatment for stroke and when we stopped the drugs he recovered

Patricia MacGillivray

"There were several issues we already had with the level of care he had received in the short while he had been in the hospital, so we started to become suspicious.

"That's when we started asking about his medication.

"It was then we learned that the medication we had been told he was going to receive when he was first admitted, which was specifically for stroke, had been changed to medication for treating seizures which we'd never seen him have.

"The effect of that medication was to sedate him."

The MacGillivray family instructed doctors to immediately withdraw all medication and launched a round-the-clock bedside watch.

Within two days, Ms MacGillivray says her father had made such a good recovery he was being recommended for stroke rehabilitation treatment and four weeks later he was back home walking around his garden in Auchterarder.

Ms MacGillivray feels if her family had not intervened in the treatment her father was receiving at Perth Royal Infirmary then her father would not be alive today.

She said: "The only conclusion we can draw is that they were trying to euthanise my father. He wasn't getting the right treatment for stroke and when we stopped the drugs he recovered.

"We have lodged an official complaint against Perth Royal Infirmary to the health trust and we are waiting for their response. We also have the full backing of our local MP."

Maggie Simpson, director of the Nursing Delivery Unit for NHS Tayside, told Sky News: "NHS Tayside takes every complaint it receives very seriously.

"We are currently investigating the concerns the MacGillivray family have, so we can respond in detail to all the complex issues they have raised.

"We expect to complete our thorough investigation in the very near future and will be writing to the family with a detailed response."

John MacGillivray's case reignites the euthanasia debate.

At present in the UK, euthanasia is illegal, but following several high-profile cases political pressure to change the law has mounted.

Yet just as the pro-euthanasia lobby appears to be strengthening, cases like Mr MacGillivray's raises the question as to just how much control doctors should have over patient treatment in certain cases.

Robin Mackenzie, a senior lecturer in Medical Ethics at Kent Law School, said: "What the doctor is obliged to do is to provide the patient and the relatives with a range of choices - these are the options, these are the risks involved, this is what we are prepared to do.

"Then everyone together should then come to a decision about what's best in the circumstances."