A woman is taking legal action against an NHS trust over the “diabolical” and discriminatory treatment of her profoundly deaf husband, who died of cancer in May last year.
Susan Kelly, who is also deaf, is angry that her husband, Ronnie, was at no point during two hospital admissions and an outpatient appointment provided with a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter. Instead, her hearing daughter, Annie Hadfield, was asked to translate his terminal diagnosis, when he was told to “get his affairs in order” and given between two weeks and two months to live, while his wife was left outside the room. He died just over two weeks later at home.
Medical staff at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS trust also placed a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order on Kelly, who had Alzheimer’s disease, during his first hospital admission in late April without either his consent or consulting his wife or daughter. His family found out only after their barrister obtained his hospital notes.
Susan Kelly told the Observer through an interpreter: “I didn’t know what DNR meant. I had no idea. I was really shocked. They’d never asked me anything about it. That wasn’t right, it was wrong. Ronnie wouldn’t have known what it meant.”
Annie Hadfield added: “I thought it was actually quite diabolical.”
The trust is undertaking a review to understand what happened. David Hughes, medical director, said: “We do acknowledge that we have more to do to support patients and relatives who have hearing impairments and it is an area of work we are actively looking at to make improvements.”
Source: The Guardian, 7 March 2021