In Alberta the doctors at the Grey Nuns Hospital unilaterally impose a do not resuscitate order on a handicapped woman.
That woman was my sister.
They did this order and the R3 goals of care in order to be "kind". They did this order in 2010, 2013 and in 2014.
Each time we got her to another hospital and reversed the order.
Each time we got her to full resuscitation we had a return to the DNR, do not intubate, no ICU and R3 Goals of Care (no intubation and no chest compressions).
Why did this situation occur?
Well it's like this.
The doctors are powerful.
My sister is powerless.
When in a situation with professionals who have all the power and a handicapped woman in the long term care facility who is powerless and marginalized who do you think will prevail?
My sister would not have got the reversal of the premature termination order if she had been by herself. Who would have advocated for her?
She is on AISH. She is severely handicapped. She can't get the help she needs. She is like a baby.
But these good doctors, felt it was best to end the care provision to my sister because it was the "kind" thing to do.
Maybe this nurse in Ontario also felt the same thing when she prematurely terminated a whole pile of folks in nursing homes there.
The saddest part of this story is the families left behind. None of them suspected.
How would they suspect?
We are taught to trust the system.
The system that sometimes fails our family members.
I never had any idea of what the heck was going on behind the scenes of the do not resuscitate orders for my sister.
I mean they made the order and told us this was the way it was.
These were doctors.
Emergency room doctors, psychiatrists, ICU doctors and specialists.
They made the decision to unilaterally impose a DNR on my sister and deny her life saving measures.
This was not one occasion.
It was repeated, determined and when each one failed, they kept bringing back the order.
So what is the difference between repeated attempts of a DNR and the work of this nurse who probably has a mental health issue?
The repeated attempts of DNR on my handicapped sister was seen as acceptable by the Grey Nuns Hospital and even by the UAH doctors. Why? Because these were their colleagues. They were all professionals.
Why is it that the work of the professionals is above scrutiny?
These are professional practice errors as well as ethical lapses.
The doctors at the Grey Nuns Hospital were approached by their colleague at the UAH but they were never disciplined for their failures to act in the best interests of the patient.
Why would they be?
They are the ones who are in charge of life and death.
Who is my sister to ask for her life?
Who is she?
A whole pile of nobodies died in Ontario and no one suspected a thing.
And no one suspects when abuse and non-compliances occur either.
We all trust the professionals.
Sometimes it is wiser to trust the medical records and our own ethical core.