Trust admits breaching human rights of man with Down’s syndrome over do not resuscitate order

Extract from Learning Disability Today, 8 December 2015

An NHS Trust has admitted breaching the human rights of a man with Down’s syndrome after two Do not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) orders were placed on his medical records, giving his condition as one of the reasons for its imposition, without the knowledge of his family.

The DNACPR orders instructed staff not to perform resuscitation in the event of a cardio or respiratory arrest, with no provision for review.

Andrew Waters, aged 51, who died earlier this year from an unrelated cause, took legal action against East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust through what is known as a litigation friend, his brother Michael.

On August 2, 2011 Andrew was admitted to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent, where it was decided he required a feeding tube. On August 9, without consultation with his family, who visited daily, or with his carers from his residential home, a DNACPR order was placed on Andrew’s medical file.

Despite a best interests meeting being later convened to discuss the insertion of the feeding tube, resuscitation was not discussed and the family were not informed of the DNACPR order, even on his discharge on August 22…

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