Northumberland

My, then aged 82 year old father, was admitted into hospital on Monday 30th March 2020. He was diagnosed with Covid-19.

On 18th March 2020 he was unwell and sounded chesty, had a headache, temperature and was shivery. Upon contacting our GP practice I was informed that a Nurse Practitioner would contact me later that day. When I was contacted by the Nurse Practitioner I explained his symptoms, even though my father has COPD he was not offered an appointment and we were advised to use his rescue pack (antibiotics).

On Friday 20th March 2020 we contacted our GP practice as he had lost his sense of taste and was experiencing nausea and sickness. Again he was not seen by our GP and was prescribed anti sickness tablets and different antibiotics for a chest infection. On Friday 27th March 2020 he was finally seen by a GP at our practice. The Dr stated he wasn’t showing any of the markers for Covid-19.

By Monday 30th March he was extremely weak, lethargic and running a very high temperature. We contacted our GP practice again and they arranged for a District Nurse to call and take bloods. He was so weak we were having to hold him up to drink. The district nurse did not appear at all concerned! By 2pm his oxygen saturation levels were as low as 78 so we rang for an ambulance. He was blue lighted to our emergency hospital 40 miles away. We were not allowed to go with him and unfortunately he only had one of his hearing aids instead of both.

During the ambulance journey they had him on oxygen and a drip. We were informed by the hospital that he was very poorly and he had tested positive for Covid-19. We were contacted by the hospital the following day and asked to take his second hearing aid as he could not hear the nursing staff and doctors. Upon arriving at the hospital we were not allowed to see him and had to hand his hearing aid over to a member of staff. Fortunately for dad he was discharged from hospital on Thursday 2nd April 2020 back into our care.

When he arrived home he had a Yellow Envelope with a form stating Do Not Attempt CPR. The form stated that the patient had been asked about CPR and had agreed not to be resuscitated. We were deeply upset and shocked particularly as he couldn’t hear the staff and they had requested his hearing aid. When we asked him if he had agreed that he didn’t want to be resuscitated he said no, they never asked me. I contacted the hospital to complain and asked them specifically about the letter and was advised we had to write a letter from my father to request the DNA CPR be removed from his medical records. Which we did immediately.

We then heard of other elderly people being discharged from hospital with Yellow Envelopes and DNA CPR.

At the time we were grateful that dad finally received the care he needed in hospital, but the fact remains that for almost 2 weeks he did not see a GP when he should have. I feel my dad was let down and I am very angry that had he been in residential care he would have been discharged and we would not have known about the blanket DNA CPR.

Sadly how many elderly residents were returned from hospital to a care home with these letters, how many, like my father, were never asked their wishes. It angers me that families were unable to see their loved ones over the past two years.

My father is now almost 85, is relatively fit and healthy and still tends to his allotment daily. We now have Power of Attorney in place to ensure we can safeguard and protect him in the future.