Care Home Deaths 1

from John Dee’s Almanac facebook site

I haven’t looked at any of this data yet but I have been stockpiling it since early last year. A good job too, for the kindly authorities have made it impossible for folk to look back and see what happened in the spring of 2020.

One key spreadsheet I opened – the cryptically-named referencetable10052021114704.xlsx – had me scratching my head until I realised the vital three columns had been re-jigged to show cumulative weekly totals instead of weekly totals.

Intrigued by this I unpicked the series to find a shocker of a hump for non-COVID death during Apr – May 2020 that I shall be reporting on shortly.

The reason I’m digging about like this is that, aside from a peculiar blip last Apr – May, all cause death across England & Wales for 2020 doesn’t show any sign of a pandemic. I had taken this blip to be an indicator of a genuine first wave viral outbreak.

However, my thinking has recently swung round to that first ‘wave’ being due to dangerous discharge and ill-treatment of our sickest and oldest patients, who were evacuated from hospital into care homes where DNR and nil by mouth was the order of the day, along with withdrawal of medications save for dosing with morphine and midazolam in what was effectively an end-of-life care pathway (whether or not end of life was imminent).

Laws forbidding visitation and autopsy ensured the saga could be quietly and conveniently buried (literally).

For those wondering what midazolam does BNF tells me it is a water-soluble benzodiazepene causing profound sedation with amnesia, side effects of which are respiratory depression and respiratory arrest. Yes, you read that right – we were giving a known respiratory depressant to old folk with COVID-19 – and in very large doses too. So large, in fact, that Matt Hancock, our health secretary at the time, secured the entire output of all suppliers, going cap in hand to the French health service for more.

Over the next few days I’ll be undertaking statistical analysis to determine just how much of that early spring 2020 hump was down to end-of-life care pathways implemented within UK care homes whether COVID-ridden or not.

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