Covid patients with mental illness and learning disabilities ‘given do not resuscitate orders’ during pandemic

COVID patients with mental illness and learning disabilities were given “do not resuscitate” orders as the pandemic swept across the country, it’s reported.

Medics have been slammed for “inappropriately” giving DNAR decisions to individuals by allegedly using learning disabilities as a reason to issue orders.


Sonia Deleon died after she had a DNAR order placed on her during the pandemic[/caption]


One of the DNAR forms issued to Ms Deleon last year[/caption]

In the early days of the pandemic, officials reportedly decided that patients with such conditions should not be resuscitated if their heart stopped, according to the Telegraph.

It emerged at the start of the pandemic that DNAR orders were allegedly being imposed on a “blanket” basis without individual assessment, which is now being investigated.

The outlet reports that in one case, the decision appears to have led to one woman’s death.

Last March, NHS England reminded medics that learning disabilities “should never be a reason for issuing a DNAR order or be used to describe the underlying, or only, cause of death.”

But according to the Telegraph, the condition was used on DNAR orders after the note was sent out in the early stages of the pandemic.

Sonia Deleon, who was in a care home, was given three DNARs – with one listing her learning disability and schizophrenia as reasons for the decision, her family said.

The 58-year-old died of a heart attack in Southend hospital last April – but a spokesman for the Trust said the reasons on the form were “an error”, with previous documents instead recording “frailty” and “multiple co-morbidities”.

The hospital trust says the order had been agreed with Ms Deleon’s family, but her sister Sally-Rose Cyrille contests this.

“When they gave my sister the DNAR, they were basically writing her off”, she told the paper.

“It’s like they were saying, ‘she’s got a learning disability, why are we even bothering?’.”

Almost 60 per cent of people who died from coronavirus in England last year were disabled, figures from the Office of National Statistics show.

Jeremy Hunt, chairman of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, branded the practice a “kind of hidden prejudice”, adding that it must be “stamped out.”

It comes as Covid cases in the UK today rose by 7,540 in the highest leap in daily infections since February.

The latest number puts the total number of cases since the pandemic began at 4,535,754.

It is the biggest rise since February 26 when 7,710 new cases were recorded.

The figure is also 74 per cent higher than a week ago when 4,330 infections were reported.

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