An NHS health board has apologised after a GP surgery in Wales recommended patients with grave illnesses complete ‘do not resuscitate’ forms in case their health declined after getting coronavirus.
Llynfi surgery, in Maesteg near Port Talbot, wrote to a tiny number of their patients requesting them to complete a (DNACPR) do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation form to ensure emergency assistance would not be called if they got COVID 19 and their well-being declined.
It read: “This is a very difficult letter for the practice to write to you”, noting that people with illnesses such as incurable cancer, motor neurone disease and pulmonary fibrosis were at much greater risk from the virus.
It continued that they would therefore like their patients to complete a DNACPR form for which they could share, which would mean that in the case of swift decline because of the COVID 19 infection or disease progression, the emergency services would not be called and resuscitation endeavours to restart the patient’s heart or breathing would not be attempted.
It claimed that completing a DNACPR would have numerous advantages. Firstly, the GP and more importantly friends and family would know not to call 999. Secondly, limited ambulance resources could be targeted to the young and fit who would have a greater chance of survival.
It continued that the risk of spreading the virus to friends and family and emergency responders from CPR was extremely high, but that having a DNACPR form in place would protect family and emergency responders from the added danger.
The letter said that in an ideal situation doctors would have had this discussion in person with vulnerable patients but had written to them instead due to concerns they’re carrying the virus and were asymptomatic, and said that they wouldn’t abandon their patients but that they needed to be honest and pragmatic.
However, this was not a health board requirement, even though the letter was sent out from the surgery.
The surgery has now been made aware that the letter caused upset to some of the patients who received it, even though the surgery said this was not their intention and apologised for any distress caused and staff at the surgery are now talking to those patients who got the letter and to respond to any concerns.
The letter went viral on social media and one person said a nurse practitioner had recently visited her father, who is getting palliative care, was also requested he sign a DNACPR form.
The number of deaths from the virus in the United Kingdom grew by 393 on Tuesday, the biggest increase since the pandemic started, taking an overall toll to 1,789.
The NHS currently has 8,175 ventilators and has said it requires 30,000 more to deal with an expected peak of COVID 19 patients, while the health service is reportedly endeavouring to expand its intensive care capacity sevenfold amid concerns the full impact of the pandemic could be devastating.
There’s a shortage of personal protective equipment across the NHS despite repeated attempts to provide ambulance crews, GP surgeries and hospitals with the masks, visors, gloves and aprons that help prevent coronavirus transmission and at least three healthcare workers have already died from the virus.
Doctors in the United Kingdom must consult with patients or their families if they choose that resuscitation would not be effective or that complications would result in more pain.
Families can seek a second opinion but the decision is ultimately a medical decision to be made by a doctor.
But this is a national disgrace and a scandal and what it boils down to is that Boris Johnson and the Tory party don’t give a stuff about these people and they never will, and perhaps Matt Hancock would like to demonstrate why he and Boris Johnson aren’t trying to protect these people.
This is sickening, and this government needs to stop and take their head from up their backside. What is going on with our nation that lets old people die without dedication when many of these old people gave this country our freedom.
And quite frankly, what this surgery was doing was implying is that these people should sacrifice themselves to save resources to save people a lot of bother.
So, does anyone else still not believe a culling of the herd wasn’t intended. In Spain, they’re now actually putting anyone over 65 to sleep so that the young get ventilators, yet you’d get arrested for euthanasia.
And what about the Hippocratic Oath, “First do no harm”, well that notion was knackered then, and isn’t against human rights, other people deciding if we live or die, and is the public going to stand for this, or do we accept this like the jews had to in the concentration camps?
All we can call this is a God complex.
The letter read: ” We will not abandon you but we need to be frank and realistic about what the next few months hold for all of us”. They won’t abandon you, but they will forsake you. So, they’re saying they won’t abandon you, but if you get the virus we’re lying and you’re on your own.
If these people wanted a DNACRP they’d already have one in place and the letter should never have gone out. It was ruthless and insensitive and I’m sure that it caused the people who received it a lot of despair and anxiety, and they probably went out of their minds with worry that they might get the virus when they were already vulnerable.
The discussion and it should have only been a discussion if and when someone got infected and it should be addressed with compassion by suitably trained medical doctors.
I thought that disability discrimination was illegal – this is not Nazi Germany and we’re supposed to be a civilised society but thanks to this government’s relentless cuts, they’d sooner push you off a cliff, and the doctors who consented to this should be struck off.
And how long before these decisions are being made all around the country by every practice, and these decisions must be coming from a more powerful source because GPs are not making these decisions on their own.
And I’m sorry, but culling the weak and crushing the vulnerable isn’t a sign of a country that cares for everyone.
This letter said that the intention was not to cause upset, well I think they were way off the mark with that one because no one’s life is more important than another.
The letter that was sent to these vulnerable people only made them feel more vulnerable and insignificant. The fact of the matter is, no matter how old and what condition you’re in, no one wants to die and their loved ones certainly don’t want them to die, and it was an insensitive letter and the elderly that are self-isolating are probably frightened enough without having to deal with some stupid letter popping through their letterbox.
Clearly, this surgery knew when sending out these letters it would cause great distress and it wasn’t the most sympathetic way of dealing with this situation, and it certainly wasn’t the best way to notify patients, particularly when families are all under severe stress.
The feeling we are getting now is that at all costs, not just the elderly or sick are being advised or told not to go to A&E anymore and to either speak to a doctor or dial 111, but then you are relying on someone coming out to get you to the hospital if your symptoms are life-threatening, but will they?
That’s the troubling thing now, and we don’t want to be left guessing or someone saying, sorry we’re very busy and that you’re not classified as a priority call or urgent, and it’s something that none of us wants to speculate about.
Every life matters whatever your age or health conditions, and this letter simply shows how low our country has declined.