Special Olympics was alarmed to hear the disturbing story that has emerged from the United Kingdom surrounding a ‘do not resuscitate’ (DNR) order placed on a patient with Down syndrome by hospital staff who listed his learning difficulties among the reasons for doing so.
Mary Davis, Acting CEO of Special Olympics International, used the opportunity of the United Nations Human Rights Day on December 10th to draw attention to the danger of stigma. In her blog post she told the story of Andrew Waters from Great Britain.
It was reported by the BBC that the hospital placed the ‘DNR’ status on him without the consent or knowledge of Andrew or his family. According to media reports, Andrew’s family only discovered the order was placed on him upon his release from the hospital in question when a note was found in his belongings. Only after pressure from Andrew’s family, the hospital admitted it breached the human rights of Andrew Waters.
Special Olympics hopes Andrew's story will serve as a wake-up-call to the persistent absence of value afforded to people with intellectual disabilities.