A GRIEVING son has called for a police investigation into the treatment his mother received at a Scottish hospital before she died.
Peter Tulloch claimed that hospital staff withdrew food and fluids from his mother Jean, 83, when she was a patient at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, putting her on a “death pathway”.
Mr Tulloch, an engineer, described the way his mother was treated as “extremely cruel” and said the evidence of “wrong-doing” was “overwhelming”. He has urged police to treat the incident as attempted murder.
He said doctors had placed Mrs Tulloch on the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), a controversial NHS process used to help the dying in their final hours. It means patients judged to be days or hours from death can be denied water or nutrition through a tube, heavily sedated and denied treatment to prolong life. She died on 29 March.
Mr Tulloch, of Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, has reported the case to his local police force, which has said it will pass on a report into the allegations to Lothian and Borders Police.
A Bedfordshire Police spokeswoman said: “Mr Tulloch has been in touch by letter and we plan to meet him. We will get the details and pass this on to Lothian and Borders Police.”
The son said that when he visited his mother at the Western General, where she had been admitted with a urinary tract infection in March, he was surprised to find she had been isolated and had her intravenous drip removed for almost 30 hours.
He said his family was not told about the withdrawal of liquids and believes this led to her death just two weeks later.
Only one duty doctor is needed to approve the use of LCP, but just last week UK experts said they believed two doctors should be involved in making the decision. Mrs Tulloch was not “imminently dying”, her son said.
He added: “To deprive my mother, conscious and aware of my presence, of all means of sustenance appeared to me to be extremely cruel. I had the impression it had been decided to hasten her demise.”
Mr Tulloch has been in touch with NHS Lothian, but it is understood staff have yet to launch an investigation into the case.
Melanie Hornett, nurse director at NHS Lothian, said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases, but NHS Lothian takes all complaints seriously and fully investigates each one.”
A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: “We will robustly investigate any information we receive relating to criminal activity within our force area.”
Mr Tulloch said a consultant assured him that the drip had not been removed from his mother but had fallen out, and he was asked if he would like it to be restored.
Mr Tulloch added that medical records showed that the decision to put her back on the drip corresponded with an order to take her off the LCP, at his request.