Friday, 5 July 2013

A truly horrifying death

In May, the story of the death of Gloria Foster, an elderly woman with advanced dementia who was left to die in her own home, shocked the nation.

After the initial expressions of shock and outrage, things went quiet.  The media moved on as usual.  Later, a police investigation found no evidence of any criminal neglect.  This caused a ripple of surprise, and then the story disappeared again.

Thankfully, one journalist, Amelia Gentleman of the Guardian, did not 'move on'.  Her investigation into how it is possible in twenty-first century Britain, for a woman to die at home, alone, without food, water or medication deserves to be widely read.

Every policy or plan to deal with the coming explosion in the number of frail, elderly people who will need to be looked after should be judged against this criterion: would it help to ensure that in future no-one else has to face the ordeal that Gloria did.

And, of course, somebody should be called to account.  Soon!