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Hospital Chief Executive praises treatment of her mother
MARY Edwards’ mother Pauline Conway passed away on June 16 last year – just weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer at Basingstoke hospital.
The condition was too advanced to be treated and Mrs Conway, 86, was able to tell medics how she wanted to be cared for.
Mrs Edwards said: “She was very clear about what she wanted – she was very strong-minded.”
Although she tried to care for her mother at her home in Fleet, the pensioner’s health rapidly deteriorated and her increasing confusion made it impossible.
After around four weeks, she was admitted to St Michael’s Hospice, in Basingstoke.
Mrs Conway was put on the Liverpool Care Pathway after being diagnosed with terminal agitation – a medical state of agitation and restlessness which happens as the terminally-ill near death and the body organs and systems begin to fail to a greater and greater degree, causing a chemical imbalance.
Although Mrs Edwards has been working in the medical profession for decades, witnessing her mother in that state was still shocking.
She said: “It’s something I wasn’t prepared for. She was obviously uncomfortable with her oxygen mask and she kept trying to rip it off her face.
Mrs Edwards said she was consulted about the decision to put her mother on the end-of-life pathway, and was able to contact members of her family who were able to make the trip to see Mrs Conway before she passed away.
She said: “I don’t have any doubt that being put on the pathway was the right decision for my mother and for all the family. We were all able to be there with her.”
After being put on the pathway, Mrs Conway’s oxygen supply was stopped and she passed away within a matter of hours.
Dr Lara Alloway, lead clinician of North Hampshire palliative care service and associate medical director (end of life), said Mrs Conway’s condition could not be treated. She said: “There was nothing we could do to stop what was happening.”