A WELSH GP surgery has come under fire after sending people with ‘significant life-limiting illnesses’ a letter asking if they’d prefer not to be resuscitated if they contract Covid-19.
Llynfi Surgery, in Maesteg, sent out the letter to people with serious health conditions, including incurable cancer, motor neurone disease and heart and lung diseases.
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But one patient said: “It was like having my death warrant being sent by the Grim Reaper.”
In the letter, people were told that if they have any serious conditions, they’re “unlikely to be offered hospital admission” if they become unwell with coronavirus, and “certainly will not be offered a ventilator bed”.
‘IT MADE ME FEEL WORTHLESS’
The letter was sent to WalesOnline by a patient who wished to remain anonymous, but said: “It not only greatly upset me, but my family and close friends.
“It was like having my death warrant being sent by the Grim Reaper.
“It made me feel worthless.
“I’ve lived with cancer for eight years and I want to live another couple of years. I’m not digging my grave yet.”
The letter informs patients that doctors from the surgery want to complete a ‘do not resuscitate’ form for them.
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It reads: “In the event of a sudden deterioration in your condition because of a Covid-19 infection or disease progression, the emergency services will not be called and resuscitation attempts to re-start your heart or breathing will not be attempted.”
‘WE NEED TO BE REALISTIC’
Patients’ “best option” is to stay at home to be cared for by family, and by signing the form, “scarce ambulance resources” will be sent to the “young and fit who have a greater chance”, the letter reads.
It ends: “We will not abandon you, but we need to be frank and realistic.”
In Wales, 69 people have died after being diagnosed with the virus.
Now the Cym Taf Morgannwg University Health Board has apologised.
‘I’M NOT DIGGING MY GRAVE YET’
“A letter was recently sent out from Llynfi surgery to a small number of patients,” a spokesperson said. “This was not a health board communication.
“The surgery have been made aware that the letter has caused upset to some of the patients who received it.
“This was not their intent and they apologise for any distress caused.
“Staff at the surgery are speaking to those patients who received the letter to apologise directly and answer any concerns they may have.”
The NHS currently has 8,175 ventilators and has said it needs 30,000 more to deal with an expected peak of Covid-19 patients.
It comes as the UK’s death rate doubled today, with 381 people – including a teen with no underlying health conditions – dying in 24 hours.
A 12-year-old girl from Belgium is the youngest in Europe to die of the coronavirus, it was reported today.
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The youngster had battled a fever for three days at home before succumbing to the illness.
Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, from Brixton, South West London, was rushed to King’s College Hospital in London after suffering breathing difficulties.
A hospital spokesman confirmed this evening: “Sadly, a 13-year old boy who tested positive for COVID-19 has passed away, and our thoughts and condolences are with the family at this time.”