Inclusion Ireland calls for people with disabilities not to be discriminated against in ICU treatment

For immediate release 

Inclusion Ireland calls for people with disabilities not to be discriminated against in ICU treatment

Inclusion Ireland is calling for the Department of Health to amend recently published guidelines on clinical decision making for those in critical care, to ensure that people with disabilities are not denied ICU treatment.

This is in relation to two recent documents published by the Department of Health;

  1. The Ethical Framework for Decision-Making in a Pandemic;
  2. The Ethical Considerations Relating to Critical Care in the Context of COVID-19

“There are many people with intellectual disabilities and their families who are very concerned with the wording in both of these documents and the absence of consideration for the rights of persons with disabilities within them” commented Enda Egan, CEO of Inclusion Ireland.

“Both of these documents make no mention of the rights of persons with disabilities for access to life-saving treatment, and there is a general sense that the language of these documents demonstrate an underlying sense of devaluing the lives of people with disabilities”.

In a section of the ‘Ethical Framework for Decision-Making in a Pandemic’ document under ‘Prioritisation of Medication and Critical Care’ on page 17, the wording “frailty status (independent of age)” is very concerning. This language indicates that people with disabilities may be treated differently to other people when it comes to deciding who will access life-saving treatment.

“Disability is not and must not be considered a comorbidity or a frailty - many people with a disability have no health problems. It is vital that decisions based on the distribution of life-saving resources must not be based on the presence of a disability, and this stance is supported by international human rights conventions, as well as the actions of other Nations in response to this recent pandemic” continued Egan.

“People with disabilities and their representative organisations should be consulted and actively involved in any ethical decision-making frameworks developed”.

 

Ends

 

For further information, please contact: 

Inclusion Ireland CEO Enda Egan:

  • Phone: 086 6087759

Email: enda@inclusionireland.ie