In Great Britain, a family has filed a complaint against the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust because it ordered not to resuscitate their son in the event of cardio-respiratory problems because of his “Down Syndrome, inability to swallow, learning difficulties and bedridden status”.
This order was given, without informing the family, on each of the two occasions when Andrew Waters was admitted to hospital with dementia. In practice, although doctors always have the last word, they are legally obliged to consult the patient or his/her family and give reasons for their decision.
The hospital acknowledges the fact that it violated the rights of the man in question, Andrew Waters, and has apologised to his family. Andrew’s brother, Michael Waters, stated that the family is still angry with the doctor concerned who, up to this point, has still not apologised. Andrew Waters died last May at the age of 53 from causes unrelated to this order.
For Jan Tregelles, spokesperson of Mencap, the association that helps the disabled, Andrew Waters’ case is “unacceptable” and highlights “the shortcomings that are a daily reality when it comes to accessing a good quality system for the mentally handicapped”.
BBC (08/12/2015) – The Guardian (08/12/2015)