Unlawful 'do not resuscitate' orders are being placed on patients with a learning disability during the coronavirus pandemic without families being consulted.
National charities have successfully challenged more than a dozen unlawful do not resuscitate orders (DNRs) that were put in place because of the patient’s disability rather than due to any serious underlying health risk.
Turning Point said it had learned of 19 inappropriate DNRs from families while Learning Disability England said almost one-fifth of its members had reported DNRs placed in people’s medical records without consultation during March and April.
In one example, a man in his fifties with sight loss was admitted to hospital after a choking episode and was incorrectly diagnosed with coronavirus. He was discharged the next day with a DNR form giving the reason as his “blindness and severe learning disabilities”.
Marie-Anne Peters, whose brother Alistair has epilepsy but no other health conditions, overturned a DNR on her brother which included instructions for him not to be taken to hospital.
Both charities fear other people with learning disabilities who are vulnerable could be wrongly denied life-saving treatment. They have now launched a new checklist for families and care workers to challenge illegal DNRs.
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Source: The Independent, 13 June 2020