A THIRD of patients hospitalised with suspected Covid-19 were issued with Do Not Resuscitate orders during the first wave of the pandemic, a study found.
The notices - known as DNRs, DNARs or DNACPRs - prevent doctors attempting cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to restart a patient’s heart.
In total, 31 per cent of patients were given DNRs on the day before or day of their admission. About six in ten of these survived, while 12 per cent had intensive treatment that saved their lives.
Researchers from the University of Sheffield analysed 12,748 cases after the Care Quality Commission undertook a review. The proportion issued was higher than for pneumonia (29 per cent) and sepsis (20 per cent). However, those with a DNR received some intensive treatments as often as those without.
Professor Steve Goodacre, an expert in emergency medicine, said while the figures for orders were higher, patients still received life-saving care.
‘DNACPR decisions are an important element of providing appropriate care for seriously ill patients but they should not be used as a reason to withhold potentially life-saving treatment,’ he added.
DNRs should only be put in place on a case-by-case basis after discussion with a patient or their family.
A recent CQC inquiry found hundreds of care home residents had them imposed without consent, while their ‘blanket use’ may have breached human rights law.