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GP apologises for asking sick patients to sign ‘do not resuscitate’ forms if they contract Covid-19

A GP surgery in south Wales has apologised after asking people with serious illnesses to sign “do not resuscitate forms” if their health deteriorates after contracting coronavirus.

The Llynfi Surgery, in Maesteg, sent a letter to a “small number” of patients on Friday recommending they sign a do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) form. 

The form would ensure that emergency services would not be called and resuscitation not performed if the patient’s health were to deteriorate from Covid-19. 

The letter states that in an “ideal situation” doctors would have this conversation in person. 

One anonymous patient described receiving the letter as “having my death warrant.” 

“It made me feel worthless,” they told WalesOnline. “I've lived with cancer for eight years and I want to live another couple of years. I’m not digging my grave yet.”

The letter, which was sent to people with serious illnesses including motor neurone disease, incurable cancers and untreatable lung and heart conditions, claimed to have a number of benefits. 

It read: “1/ your GP and more importantly your friends and family will know not to call 999. 2/ scarce ambulance resources can be targeted to the young and fit who have a greater chance.”

According to the Guardian, the recommendation to sign the DNACPR did not come from the health board. 

“The surgery have been made aware that the letter has caused upset to some of the patients who received it,” a Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board spokesperson said. “This was not their intent and they apologise for any distress caused. 

“Staff at the surgery are speaking to those patients who received the letter to apologise directly and answer any concerns they may have.”

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