The Christian Institute in the United Kingdom is decrying the “institutional culture” of a hospital that undermined the sanctity of life and hurried death through drugs for possibly as many as 650 people.
“The review into Gosport War Memorial Hospital, led by the former Bishop of Liverpool, found 456 patients were given opioid drugs ‘without appropriate clinical indication.’ It is likely that at least 200 others were ‘similarly affected,’ but their clinical notes were not found,” the institute said regarding the scandal, which was revealed in a formal report by an independent panel.
“Across nearly 400 pages, the Gosport Independent Panel lays out, in unflinching detail, how a ‘hazardous combination of medication not clinically indicated or justified’ were administered to patients over many years,” the institute said.
“Numerous allegations about a culture of death are also highlighted – with one police officer saying that families feared ‘the hospital was guilty of institutionalized euthanasia.'”
The institute, pointing to the million pages of documents that were reviewed, said the evidence shows it was “a large number” of patients and families affected.
BBC News reported the report uncovered a “disregard for human life” in a large number of cases.
It quoted Prime Minister Theresa May saying the events were “deeply troubling.”
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told MPs that police and the Crown Prosecution Service will review the report to determine if criminal charges are warranted.
Bridget Reeves — whose grandmother Elsie Divine, 88, died at the hospital in 1999 — said: “These horrifying, shameful, unforgivable actions need to be disclosed in a criminal court for a jury to decide and only then can we put our loved ones to rest,” according to the BBC report.
So far, only one doctor has been punished, and that was minor.
“Relatives had said they hoped the findings of the report would end their ‘harrowing’ wait for answers,” the BBC said. “The panel found officers had a mindset of seeing family members who complained as ‘stirring up trouble’ while seeing the hospital as the place to go for guidance and assurance during their inquiries.”
But the report found, “There was an institutionalized regime of prescribing and administering ‘dangerous doses’ of a hazardous combination of medication not clinically indicated or justified, with patients and relatives powerless in their relationship with professional staff.”
Years back, when staff members raised questions about opioids use, managers silenced them.
The commission was headed by the Right Rev. James Jones, who wrote in the introduction: “Handing over a loved one to a hospital, to doctors and nurses, is an act of trust and you take for granted that they will always do that which is best for the one you love. It represents a major crisis when you begin to doubt that the treatment they are being given is in their best interests. It further shatters your confidence when you summon up the courage to complain and then sense that you are being treated as some sort of ‘troublemaker.'”
The report went to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care “in order for it to be laid before Parliament.”
It revealed the use of diamorphine on patients who “don’t have pain,” that the individual needs of patients were not considered, the “use of syringe driver on commencing diamorphine prohibits trained staff from adjusting dose to suit patients needs” and the goal apparently was a high degree of “unresponsiveness” from the patients.
The panel found that many medical records were inadequate to determine the need for the painkillers, but in many cases “there was evidence that opioids were used without appropriate clinical indication.”