Doctors say ‘do not resuscitate’ Down’s syndrome man

A family is taking legal action after doctors placed a ‘do not resuscitate’ (DNR) order on a male patient who has Down’s syndrome.

The family says his treatment was “degrading and disgraceful”, the NHS trust at the centre of the case has said it is unable to comment.

The man, who also suffers from dementia, was in hospital in Margate to have a feeding tube fitted.


The family were unaware of the decision made by the doctors despite visits almost daily.

The DNR form was only discovered when carers found it in a bag on the man’s return to his care home.

A close relative of the man said: “Since November last year, he’s been as right as rain.


“He has a specially adapted chair, takes part in various activities and is conscious of everybody around him.”

Solicitor Merry Varney from Leigh Day & Co is representing the man and family.

She said: “This is definitely one of the most extreme cases we have seen of a DNR order being imposed on a patient without consent or consultation.


“To use Down’s syndrome and learning difficulties as a reason to withhold lifesaving treatment is nothing short of blatant discrimination.”

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust said they were unable to comment on this individual case.

Medical director Dr Neil Martin said East Kent Hospitals has put a “great deal in place” to “meet the needs of vulnerable patients.”


He said their DNR policy complies fully with national guidance from the professional bodies.

Policy for DNR orders are made by individual NHS trusts rather than nationally directed.

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