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Mike Stuchbery 💀🍷
+ Your AuthorsArchive @MikeStuchbery_ Writer, Journalist & Teacher. Sometimes does stuff for @TheLocalEurope. Jul. 27, 2021 4 min read

I'm seeing more Covid conspiracy theory material being shared likening NHS care during the pandemic being likened to the 'Aktion T4' program of the Nazis.

Specifically, DNR orders and the Liverpool Care Pathway keep getting mentioned.

Here's why these ideas are garbage.

A 'Do Not Resucitate' order is just that - an order not to resucitate a person in an emergency.

Quite rightly, there was protest over DNR orders given to those with learning disabilities during previous waves of the pandemic. 

Doctors make DNR, mostly in consultation with patients and/or families, either ahead of time, or once a patient is admitted to hospital.

This is done for a number of reasons - mostly that it would prolong suffering.

Remember this point, it becomes important later.

The Liverpool Care Pathway was formulated in the late 1990s as a means of ensuring high quality care in the last hours of life of a patient with a terminal illness.

It discuss withdrawal of fluids, sedation and other means of ensuring a peaceful passing. 

Remember the point about palliative care - again, it becomes important later.

After a number of media reports, claiming that the pathway was applied to patients who were not dying, or who did not give consent, it was phased out in 2021/2013. 

Now, let's talk about 'Aktion T4'.

'Aktion T4' was the name later given to the systematic murder of those with illnesses, learning difficulties and mental illness during the years of the Nazi regime.

'Aktion T4' was inspired by the eugenics movement sweeping the world in the first three decades of the 20th century.

It was born from Nazi concepts of 'Aryan' racial hygiene, and the vile idea that the sick, disabled and mentally ill were 'useless eaters', a burden

After years of discussion, amid fears that the German public would not yet accept the murder of the Ill, disabled and infirm, Hitler gave doctor Karl Brandt and senior civil servant the go ahead to systematically kill those the Reich deemed 'useless eaters'.

'Euthanasia' centres were set up across Germany. I live close to Grafeneck, one of the major centres for killing.

Patients were transported there in grey buses - that's why you've seen them in the thread thus far.

Killing of children began in 1939. Adults were killed from 1940. The program concluded by 1941. Patients were transported to the centres, where they were either given lethal injections or gassed upon arrival.

Victims families were then sent letters informing them of the death.

When the Nazis invaded Poland and Czechoslovakia, the programs were continued, with much less oversight. Victims' families were generally not informed, and the means of killing barbaric.

It is estimated that up to 300,000 died across Europe in 'Aktion T4'.

At the end of the war, Karl Brandt was executed for his role in 'Aktion T4'. Philipp Bouhler committed suicide upon his capture.

Today, almost all of the killing sites are 'gedenkstätte', or memorials to the victims of the program.

Now, here are some very things it is essential to understand.

'Aktion T4' was sanctioned slaughter of those considered 'useless eaters', conducted with a veil of deceit.

Both DNR orders and the Liverpool Care Pathway are flawed tools for dealing with terminal patients.

Both DNR orders for those with learning difficulties and the Liverpool Care Pathway had the scrutiny of the free press and were subject to heavy serious debate.

They both also require a degree of consent from patients of families.

'Aktion T4' not only meant that anyone with a disability, illness or learning difficulty would be killed, but the victims of the program were misled at every step, lied to about where they were going.

Each step of DNRs and the LCP require significant informed discussion.

Now, I am the first to admit the mistakes are made by medical professionals. I railed heavily against the DNR orders for those with learning difficulties and I believe that the LCP was significantly flawed - I'm glad it was phased out after scrutiny.

However, likening the mistakes of individual doctors and hospital trusts to the mass slaughter of mothers, brothers, fathers and sisters not only throws millions of hardworking professionals under the the bus, but lowers trust in the health system at a time of severe crisis.

It also lessens and sullies the memory of those murdered in 'Aktion T4'.

This is the memorial for Klara Leucht, a 17 year old with learning difficulties. I pass it most days.

She was remembered by family as a happy, lively girl. She was murdered in 1941.

When people liken flawed modern hospital practiceto the systematic slaughter of hundreds of thousands by fascists, they show just how little they understand about the past, the present and their own biases.

If you spread these ideas, then you are scum - no better word for it.

Please speak out if you hear friends, family or coworkers spread these vile slurs.

We can't afford to have more people died due to fear mongering and the weaponisation of appalling historical events.

Thank you, and never forget.

You can follow @MikeStuchbery_.


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