NPR reports that some disabled patients in Oregon who contracted COVID-19 were denied access to life-saving medical care such as ventilators, despite no shortage of devices. According to NPR, one woman with an intellectual disability and COVID-19 was taken to a Pendleton, Ore hospital, where she was denied access to a ventilator and where a doctor wanted her to sign DNR/DNI forms.
In the hospital, a medical provider wrote do-not-resuscitate (DNR) and do-not-intubate orders for the woman. Those are medical instructions to health care providers to withhold potentially painful interventions, like a ventilator or CPR, if a patient stops breathing or the patient’s heart stops. The woman was alone in the hospital and did not understand what the doctor and medical staff wanted her to agree to.
In addition, the hospital staff sent word to the woman’s group home: Fill out DNRs in advance for your other residents, in case one of them comes to the hospital.
People who worked with the woman were angry that the doctor and the hospital seemed to be discounting the lives of people with disabilities.
Someone tracked down lawyers for help.