YP Letters: End-of-life care forces medics to make choice

From: Paul Brown, Bents Green Road, Sheffield.

The NHS celebrates its 70th anniverdary next week.

ONE of the most difficult decisions which NHS staff have to make is how to deal with someone who is approaching the end of their life.

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Having hit the headlines recently, our politicians, and national news media, are, as usual, avoiding any intelligent discussion of the subject.

If a young person is taken to hospital with an injury or disease, the options available to hospital staff are predictable.

In the case of a very old person, the doctors and nurses have to decide whether treatment will allow the patient to return home within a reasonably short time or if anything other than painkillers and sedatives will just result in their patient having to suffer a long period of potentially painful, and intrusive, medical intervention without any realistic expectation of a positive outcome. Having to take responsibility for such situations is one of the most challenging and stressful experiences faced by hospital staff, and one for which they receive no credit from our politicians.