Recently over 500 patients in the UK have been placed under the DNACPR order absent consent during the coronavirus pandemic. This shocking news was recently publicized by England’s care watchdogs and was further corroborated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who said
“From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were concerns that ‘do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions were being made without involving people, or their families and/or carers if so wished, and were being applied to groups of people, rather than taking into account each person’s individual circumstances…”
The DNACPR is a medical order that lets healthcare workers know not to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if a patient stops breathing or their heart stops beating. This is usually pre-arranged and consented by the patient or loved ones as it should be.
Following these alarming revelations, many have become outraged and are lobbying for legal action. One such body is Amnesty International who has condemned the widespread use of “blanket” DNACPR orders.
According to Amnesty
“There is still no robust instruction that all care providers must review every single DNACPR added to a resident’s care plan since 1 March this year”.
Therefore, there is no guarantee that the unsolicited DNACPR orders will not persist. Additionally, a legal dispute would likely be unfavourable for the families of the deceased as attributing liability can be daunting.