Medical Neglect Puts People In Hospitals At Risk
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 8, 2003
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND--Discrimination against people with disabilities in medical centers can put their health -- even their lives -- at risk.
The BBC investigative television program "Frontline Scotland" ran a half-hour program Tuesday that examined poor treatment experienced by people with "learning disabilities" (the term used in the United Kingdom for "mental retardation") in general hospitals.
The program, entitled "Playing God", looked at claims by family members and friends who said their loved ones with disabilities received medical care that was "sloppy", "conservative", "limited" or "nonexistent".
One mother said, "If medical staff treated you and I the way they've treated Alan (her son), we'd be lashing out".
"Playing God" looks at the stories of two people whose deaths while in the hospital appear to have been totally preventable.
One case studied was that of 24-year-old Tracey Roberts, who had Retts syndrome. Tracey died from respiratory failure and pneumonia at a Glasgow hospital three years ago.
Later, her family learned quite by accident that Tracey's medical chart had a tagged "do not resuscitate" code, which meant that hospital staff were not to try to keep her alive if she were dying. This was a shock to family members who claimed they never agreed to such an order.
This did not explain, however, why they did not treat her properly for pneumonia in the first place.