Friday, October 29, 2010


Reasons I do not want to go to Palmerston North Hospital #57: because they stick "do not resuscitate" orders on people without their consent:

An 85-year-old woman who wants a chance at life, no matter what, was shocked to find a not-for-resuscitation order placed on her file at Palmerston North Hospital's emergency department.

Her son, Tim Wallace, is angry the order was filled out by a doctor without consulting him, as her enduring power of attorney, or his mother, who was too sick to speak for herself when admitted. Mr Wallace has laid a formal complaint with MidCentral Health, which has launched an investigation.

It is unclear whether this was done by the hospital, or the rest home the woman was living at, but either way it is utterly monstrous. Respect for personal autonomy means not just respecting people's right to die, but also their right to live. And this was a person who had expressed very clearly a desire to cling on for every last moment. That decision should not be overridden by a doctor, or anyone else for that matter. And it certainly shouldn't be overridden by any employee of a body which has a clear financial incentive to minimise its cost of care.

MidCentral Health is investigating, but if they find who is responsible they're likely to treat it as an employment issue or a medical disciplinary offence. Its not. Instead, what we're looking at here is attempted murder, and it should be prosecuted as such.