World News Feb 13, 2021 4:34 PM EST

'Do not resuscitate' orders implemented for COVID-19 patients with learning disabilities in the UK

COVID-19 patients with learning disabilities have reportedly been given a "do not resuscitate" order in the United Kingdom during the second wave of the pandemic, the Guardian reports.

'Do not resuscitate' orders implemented for COVID-19 patients with learning disabilities in the UK
Matthew Miller The Post Millennial
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COVID-19 patients with learning disabilities have reportedly been given a "do not resuscitate" order in the United Kingdom during the second wave of the pandemic, the Guardian reports.

Younger people with learning disabilities, aged 18-34, are 30 times more likely to die that others of the same age group, according to Public Health England.

The revelation comes as campaigners put pressure on ministries to reverse a decision to not give learning disabled patients priority with vaccination.

Mencap, a charity in the UK that works with people with learning disabilities, said that it received reports from January from people with learning disabilities who claimed they were told they would not be resuscitated in the event of complications with COVID-19.

"Throughout the pandemic many people with a learning disability have faced shocking discrimination and obstacles to accessing healthcare, with inappropriate Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) notices put on their files and cuts made to their social care support," Edel Harris, Mencap’s chief executive, said.

"It’s unacceptable that within a group of people hit so hard by the pandemic, and who even before Covid died on average over 20 years younger than the general population, many are left feeling scared and wondering why they have been left out," he continued.

"The JCVI and government must act now to help save the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable people by urgently prioritizing all people with a learning disability for the vaccine."

Inappropriately issued "Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation" notices had caused potentially avoidable deaths last year, the Care Quality Commission said in December.

Do not resuscitate orders are normally issued to patients who are too frail to withstand CPR, or would otherwise not medically benefit from resuscitation efforts.

There is now growing evidence that those who are learning disabled have a noticeably higher death rate with the coronavirus, according to the Guardian.  

NHS data shows that in the past five weeks since the third coronavirus lockdown began, the virus has accounted for 65 percent of deaths of people with learning disabilities, while the death rate from COVID-19 for the general population is only 39 percent, according to the Office for National Statistics

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