The Chair of the Department for Social Justice of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Bishop Richard Moth of Arundel and Brighton, has issued a statement expressing distress after hearing that people with learning disabilities have been given Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) orders during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We were distressed to learn this weekend of reports, from MENCAP which reiterated the statement of the Care Quality Commission in December 2020, that people with learning disabilities have been given Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) orders during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Bishop Moth said
Bishop Moth called it “shocking” to hear of such discrimination, especially “in a time when we are being given so much hope by the efficient roll-out of the vaccination programme.”
“All human life is endowed with equal God-given dignity,” Bishop Moth went on to say, “from the moment of conception until natural death.” He added that the worth of no human person is ever “determined by the status of our mental health or capacity,” and quoted Pope Francis, who recently said: “If we deprive the weakest among us of the right to life, how can we effectively guarantee respect for every other right?”
“It is wholly unacceptable and immoral to suggest that the challenges which some people with learning disabilities face with communicating symptoms should make them candidates for a DNACPR order,” Bishop Moth also said. “Furthermore, the issuing of such orders in a blanket fashion ignores the unique gift of each person, instead treating people with learning disabilities as though they were all the same.”
“There should be no discrimination of this kind in our health service.”
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