Hospital Sued Over DNR on Man with Cerebral Palsy
- 05 Nov
Elaine Winspear seeks to challenge doctor's 'unilateral' order not to resuscitate son Carl, who died at Sunderland Royal hospital.
The mother of a 28-year-old man with cerebral palsy is suing the hospital where he died, alleging its staff failed to consult her on a decision not to attempt resuscitation and did not administer his medication appropriately.
A coroner has raised concerns about the way Carl Winspear received medication in hospital last year, writing an official letter to the Department of Health (DoH) and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS foundation trust over drug procedures at Sunderland Royal hospital.
Relatives want to clarify the law on how DNR decisions are reached for patients without mental capacity to decide and force the DoH in England to establish a national policy, instead of medical staff being expected to follow professional guidance and local policies.
Carl Winspear, who did not have mental capacity to make all his own decisions, died of pneumonia in Sunderland Royal hospital in January 2011.
His mother's lawyer says a doctor unilaterally decided not to attempt resuscitation if he suffered cardiac or respiratory arrest, recording in the medical notes "speak to family in morning".
Mrs Winspear said she was approached by the doctor to ask if she would consider a DNR, but she was not told of any decision having already been made. She said she strongly disagreed with an order being put in place, but claims an undated DNR order was subsequently found by the family in the medical notes.
His main concern was talking about 'people like this' or 'people like that'. He was talking about his condition. Because a person has a condition, it doesn't mean that every person is going to be the same.
It seems the doctor assumed Carl did not have a quality of life. He had a better quality of life than you or I do. He went to a day centre five days a week, doing different things. One day, he might go out for fish and chips, another, they would take him to a pub, a third it would be the allotment.
Derek Winter, the Sunderland coroner who recorded a verdict of death by natural causes at Winspear's inquest in July 2011, was worried by problems with the intravenous administration of drugs during his treatment. He wrote to the hospital and the health department over delays in giving Winspear loading doses - large doses of medicine over short times - to try to deliver quick therapeutic responses.
Mrs Winspear's lawyer, Merry Varney, of Leigh Day, said:
[She] has been left feeling that Carl was grossly let down by the hospital, that he did not receive the drugs that could have eased his suffering and that perhaps more could and should have been done for Winspear but his doctors seemed heavily influenced purely by his disability.
She also pointed to the low involvement of patients or relatives in DNR decisions found in a review of current procedures by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death.
The City Hospitals Sunderland NHS trust said it was unable to comment at this stage.
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1057587
- 10 Sep
Young people with learning disabilities more likely to be abused
A group of children’s charities have said that young people with disabilities have the “same vulnerabilities” as all young people but face extra “barriers” to getting protection or support,...
- 07 Sep
Success for a disability sport programme
The programme ran for three weeks and included multi-sport camps at Aberdeen Sports Village, reports the Mearns Leader. Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee...
- 21 Jul
Hartlepool to open a disability centre
Work has begun on the Hartlepool Borough Council project which aims to provide the Centre for Independent Living on the site of the current Havelock Centre in Burbank, reports The Hartlepool Mail.It...
- 14 Jul
Reform for care of adults with learning disabilities criticised for being slow
Following the care home abuse scandal at Winterbourne, Sir Stephen Bubb headed a review into care home abuse, which was published in November, reports the BBC.England's chief nursing officer said...
- 18 Jun
Campaigners warn that people with disabilities are losing rights due to government cuts
Charities are concerned that the rights of people with learning disabilities to live independent lives are slipping due to government cuts to benefits and social care, reports the Guardian. A letter...
- 11 Jun
Concern over disability benefits following council change
On the 30th of June a £500m Independent Living Fund will be in the control of local authorities, leaving people fearing how the benefit allowance for disabled adults will be affected, reports the...
- 21 May
Victims of disability hate crime are being let down
Police, prosecutors and probations services have failed to bring in need change over the past two years, a report by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate has found, reports the BBC.The CPS, police and...
- 08 May
New initiative to support young people with disabilities
Liberty Staffordshire Community Interest Company have been developed to maximise opportunities for young people due to growing concern they could be left isolated following the withdrawal of...
- 05 May
How technology is helping people with disabilities
At the exhibit people presented all-terrain wheelchairs, adapted smartphone for people whose fingers can't cope with normal devices, wheelchairs that allow the user to become level with the people...
- 01 May
Charities call for action on accessible housing
Leonard Cheshire Disability charity has told The Yorkshire Post that the lack of housing which is accessible for people with disabilities must become and election issue and is calling for the...
How to Fund Housing Support and Social Care Services Good clear delivery of some complicated information. Jaqui Smith - Young Womens Housing Project