Did NHS kill my mother to free bed? The profoundly disturbing story by son of patient at controversial terminal illness care home
- Peter Tulloch believes doctors sought to hasten his mother's death
- He was informed that mother Jean Tulloch had just weeks to live
- Without his knowledge, doctors removed her drip but Mr Tulloch believes she was still aware of her surroundings
PUBLISHED: 18:48 EST, 12 October 2012 | UPDATED: 18:50 EST, 12 October 2012
Peter Tulloch is in no doubt that doctors sought to hasten his mother's death. Looking back, he says, there were clear signs that 83-year-old Jean Tulloch had become a burden to the hospital whose care she was in.
After informing Mr Tulloch that she had just a few weeks to live, doctors attempted to persuade him to take her back to her care home. He didn't know it at the time, but there was a shortage of beds at Edinburgh's Western General Hospital, where the retired nurse was being treated for a urinary and chest infection. Medical staff, it seemed to Mr Tulloch, needed Mrs Tulloch's bed back. In short, they wanted her out.
After Mr Tulloch told a doctor he had to return to London temporarily for work, they decided, he believes, to ‘get it over with'.
Wanted her out: Jean Tulloch was being treated for a urinary and chest infection when doctors told her son Peter Tulloch that she had just weeks to live. He says there were clear signs that she had become a burden to the hospital
On March 14 this year, without his knowledge, doctors removed the intravenous drip attached to his mother, from which she was receiving vital fluids.
It was only because Mr Tulloch visited the hospital on an impulse on his way to catch the train that he discovered what they had done.
After Mr Tulloch complained, another drip was attached, but Mrs Tulloch died on March 27. She'd been left without fluids or nutrition for 30 hours.
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‘My mother was conscious and had an awareness of her surroundings,' says Mr Tulloch. ‘In my view, to totally deprive her of nutrition or hydration in these circumstances is not euthanasia, it is verging on murder.'
A very serious accusation, and one Dr David Farquharson, medical director of NHS Lothian, vehemently denies.
In a statement, he said: ‘Mr Tulloch's recollection of events does not correlate with the recollection of any of our medical staff involved with his mother's care.
‘We have expressed our sincere apologies that he has misunderstood the details that we tried to explain to him, which we accept can be complex.
‘Staff are deeply upset at Mr Tulloch's assertion that their care of his mother was anything other than compassionate, professional and in her best interests.'