NRL News

More than 1000 people killed by dehydration in the UK

by | Dec 3, 2013


By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

 1,158 care home residents suffered dehydration-related deaths between 2003 and 2012  Photo: Alamy

1,158 care home residents suffered dehydration-related deaths between 2003 and 2012
Photo: Alamy

For many years I have stated that once death by dehydration becomes common people will react by demanding death by lethal injection. Death by dehydration is not a compassionate death.

The Euthanasia lobby, who first promoted death by dehydration, now use the abandonment of vulnerable people that has led to death by dehydration becoming common as a reason for legalizing euthanasia.

An article written by Ben Riley-Smith and published in the The Telegraph on December 1, 2013, states that access to information files in the UK indicate that more than 1,000 people died by dehydration related to neglect and abuse over the past 10 years in the UK.

The article stated:

“More than 1,000 care home residents have died of thirst or while suffering severe dehydration over the past decade.

“Elderly and vulnerable patients were left without enough water despite being under the supervision of trained staff in homes in England and Wales.

“’How can we call ourselves civilised when people are left to starve or die of thirst? … It is an utter disgrace that they are ever left without the most basic care,’ said Dr Alison Cook, a director at the Alzheimer’s Society.”

The article then explained the statistics:

“Figures obtained by this newspaper (The Telegraph) under freedom of information laws found that 1,158 care home residents suffered dehydration-related deaths between 2003 and 2012. Dehydration was named as either the underlying cause of death or a contributory factor, according to analysis of death certificates by the Office of National Statistics.

“Some 318 care home residents were found to have died from starvation or when severely malnourished, while 2,815 deaths were linked to bed sores.

“The real figures are likely to be far higher because residents who died while in hospital were not included.”

Ben Riley-Smith continues:

“In 2011 a BBC Panorama investigation secretly filmed staff at Winterbourne View private hospital, near Bristol, hitting and taunting patients with learning disabilities. Six staff members were eventually jailed, while 19 patients are due to receive compensation. In October a coroner said that Orchid View care home, near Crawley, West Sussex, where 19 residents died, was riddled with ‘institutionalised abuse’ and criticised the CQC [Care Quality Commission] for rating it as good in 2010.

“Last year the CQC issued 818 warning notices to adult social care services in England – around two thirds more than the preceding year.”

Norman Lamb, the care and support minister, said the deaths from thirst and starvation were “entirely unacceptable”.

The fact is that killing a person by dehydration, is ethically the same as euthanasia. Killing people by dehydration is usually a form of abuse and neglect.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog.

Categories: Euthanasia