Hazel Fenton, from East Sussex, is alive nine months after medics ruled she had only days to live, withdrew her antibiotics and denied her artificial feeding. The former school matron had been placed on a controversial care plan intended to ease the last days of dying patients.
Doctors say Fenton is an example of patients who have been condemned to death on the Liverpool care pathway plan. They argue that while it is suitable for patients who do have only days to live, it is being used more widely in the NHS, denying treatment to elderly patients who are not dying.
Why do I use the term "Central Planning" in the title? Because that's what the policy is. Doctors use their information, along with a centrally planned protocol, to make decisions. Just as in the Soviet Union, the true customer is not the patient. The patient pays an incremental fee of zero and, therefore, has little economic clout. The true customer is the government, which is trying to conserve resources and, thus, making tradeoffs among various patients.