His Feb. 16 statement noted the contrast between the DNR orders and the “deep love and compassion” shown by those who care for people with disabilities, especially to ensure their safety during the pandemic.
Moth called it “wholly unacceptable and immoral to suggest that the challenges which some people with learning disabilities face with communicating symptoms” would be cause for a DNR order.
He also criticized the way that the DNR orders were being issued “in a blanket fashion…treating people with learning disabilities as though they were all the same,” rather than recognizing the unique circumstances of each person.
“There should be no discrimination of this kind in our health service,” he said.
Moth’s statement pointed to an April 2020 statement from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales stressing the need for ethical decision-making in cases of limited medical resources.
“A decision against offering a certain life-prolonging treatment to an individual must never be a judgement based on the worthwhileness of that person’s life, including their age or other social characteristics, but a pragmatic decision about the likelihood of him/her benefiting from the intervention given their medical condition,” that statement said.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
The U.K., which has a population of 67 million, has the fifth-highest recorded COVID-19 death toll in the world after the United States, Brazil, Mexico, and India.
The Guardian cited NHS figures indicating that in the five weeks since the latest lockdown began, COVID-19 was responsible for 65% of deaths of people with learning disabilities.
A study by Public Health England last November found that people with learning disabilities had a death rate from COVID-19 up to six times higher than the general population. It also concluded that the death rate for people aged 18 to 34 with learning disabilities was 30 times higher.