New Zealand shocked over do-not-resuscitate orders

New Zealanders have been outraged by the news that at least two patients at a small government hospital in the city of Palmerston North had been given do-not-resuscitate orders without consent from them or from their next of kin.

The chief medical officer of the local health board, Ken Clark, contended that the incidents did not highlight a lack of training, and that the doctors acted in good faith. However, complaints have been made and the cases are being investigated.

One of the patients involved, Mrs Juanita Wallace, is frail and bed-ridden, but definitely wants to live on. A former nurse, she was less detached about her experience. It was horrible, she said. Her son Tim told the Manawatu Standard that he was appalled to see how many patients in his mother's ward appeared to have DNR orders on their files.

Dunedin Medical School Professor of Medical Ethics Grant Gillett said that DNR orders should not be made without consultation, unless consultation was impossible. "It is a misconception among medical staff, that because it is permissible for them to make the decision, that they don't need to bother discussing it," he said. ~ Manawatu Standard, Oct 30


MORE ON THESE TOPICS | do not resuscitate, euthanasia, New Zealand

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