Sunday, 14 June 2020

Do Not Resuscitate - Doctors Playing God?

The Daily Record highlights another disturbing case of a patient being issued with Do Not Resuscitate order without prior discussion with the patient or their family.

The statement issued by Greater Glasgow and Clyde health is even more bizarre because it claims that DNR decisions are taken on a 'person-centred' basis when this is clearly not what happened in this case.

“We are in touch with the family to discuss her care experience. DNACPR decisions are made on a person-centred basis. Discussions are undertaken with compassion and in conjunction with the patient and family, wherever possible."

So how will Scotland's health minister respond?

Will Jeanne Freeman demand that health inspectors target this DNR practice through unannounced hospital visits or will she send in Police Scotland, as she's done with care home deaths?

Scots nurse slams hospital after do not resuscitate order placed on mum without consent

Lesley Roberts only found out when she found the paperwork among her mum's dirty washing when she was discharged.

By Vivien Aitken - Daily Record

A nurse has told how a hospital slapped a “do not resuscitate” order on her mum without any consultation with the family.

Lesley Roberts only found the DNACPR (Do Not Attempt CPR) notice when she unloaded her mum’s soiled hospital clothing when she was discharged.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday described the case as “unacceptable” when she was told about it by the Daily Record.

Lesley, 50, who is a nurse, had stopped visiting her mum in March.

She said: “I’m a staff nurse and didn’t want to bring Covid to her.

“I’ve been working with patients suspected of having but not diagnosed with Covid.

“I would never do this with my patients. The NHS doesn’t have the right to play God.

"They don’t have the right to decide who gets saved and who doesn’t.”

Her mum Letitia, 79, has a care package to allow her to live at home in Greenock and Lesley, who lives in the same town, rang her every day.

But on May 21, Letitia became ill and was taken into Inverclyde Royal Hospital. She got out last Friday.

Recalling events last month, Lesley said: “I thought she seemed OK. I called but her line was engaged. I thought she had maybe knocked it off the hook.

Lesley Roberts found the DNR notice in a bag beside her mother's soiled clothing 

“Although I wasn’t supposed to go round, I did because I felt something wasn’t right.

“When I got there, I asked her to let me in. She had the key in her hand but was crying and seemed confused.

“At this point, her carer arrived and let me in, by which time my mum was really upset. I contacted my older brother, who has power of attorney, and phoned NHS24.”

But while she was waiting for a GP to arrive, Lesley began to unpack her mum’s hospital bags.

She found the completed DNACPR form among soiled items of clothing in a hospital laundry bag.

Lesley said: “Apparently, they tried to speak to my brother on May 21 and because they couldn’t contact him, they made this decision without discussing it with us.

"They were not going to resuscitate her if there was a problem.

“We were in contact with them every day and they never cracked a light as it had already been put it place.

“I find that cruel, absolutely horrendous. To find that in with soiled laundry is appalling.

"It should not be up to them to decide who lives and who dies – everyone should have the chance of life.

"As she was in the hospital until June 5, they had plenty of time to attempt to phone again and discuss it fully with us.”

Letitia was only home for 36 hours before she was rushed back into hospital when her oxygen saturation levels dropped.

Lesley said: “I dropped her off at the hospital at 3am and by 4.20am, they were on the phone asking whether to put her on a DNR again. I told them she was not to be placed on it.”

She became further incensed when her mum was taken to a Covid hub instead of being put straight back on to a ward.

Lesley said: “Inverclyde is the Covid capital of Scotland yet they put my mum into the main Covid-receiving hub, placing her at risk.”

The Record raised Letitia’s case with Sturgeon at her daily briefing.

She said: “Nobody should be put under pressure to sign or agree one of these forms and nobody should find themselves signing it without proper discussion as part of an overall anticipatory care plan.

“What you have described is completely unacceptable.”

National clinical director Jason Leitch said it was “entirely unacceptable”.

A NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde spokeswoman said: “We were very sorry to hear the patient’s family was not satisfied with the level of care provided and that the patient suffered distress following discharge from hospital.

“We are in touch with the family to discuss her care experience. DNACPR decisions are made on a person-centred basis. Discussions are undertaken with compassion and in conjunction with the patient and family,
wherever possible.

“When a DNACPR is in place, this information remains with the patient at all times.

“We understand how difficult this can be for a family and apologise for the way in which the patient’s family found the DNACPR paperwork.

“Regarding the second admission to hospital, the patient followed the appropriate pathway for over-70s, as outlined in national guidance."