Stock image of a man filling out a form

A Deaf Man has been given a Do Not Resuscitate Order without his consent, it has emerged.

Doctors at NHS Scotland gave a deaf man a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ order without his knowledge or consent.

The profoundly deaf man is a resident at Deaf Action’s supported accommodation for deaf adults in Slateford Green, Edinburgh. He is in his 60s, with a good quality of life. He had no knowledge of the decision that had been made for him.

At a recent routine hospital appointment, he was given the DNR order without any communication support to explain what it meant. The order states that ‘in the event of a cardiac or respiratory arrest no attempt to at cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) are intended.

When support staff at Deaf Action saw the DNR order, they were shocked to see that it had been marked up to state that the patient was not aware of the decision.

The reason given was ‘communication difficulties’.

Deaf people face communication barriers every day, but their lives have just as much value as hearing people. It’s extremely concerning a deaf person was not deemed worthy of saving, due to communication issues.

BSL users have the same right to access information as everyone else. Without interpreters or communication support, deaf people are being left out of the conversation about their own lives.

The NHS did not offer a BSL/English interpreter or any communication support to aid this conversation. British Sign Language (BSL) is a legally recognised language in Scotland, and BSL users have the right to represent themselves and access information from both deaf and hearing people.

It is essential that deaf people are given access to interpreters and communication support, especially within hospitals and medical settings. They have a right to know what is being discussed, and a right to make decisions about their themselves.

The team at Deaf Action discussed the DNR order with the man, and swiftly arranged an appointment with his GP. A BSL/English interpreter was arranged for the appointment, so that the GP could discuss the DNR with the man.

Disability Equality Scotland strongly condemns this action taken by staff at the NHS and ask that disabled people are included in all aspect of their care. More information on Inclusive Communication can be found on our Inclusive Communication Hub by clicking on the link embedded in the text.