Re­vival rul­ing splits medics

The Jewish Chronicle - - HOME NEWS - CANDICE KRIEGER

NEW GUIDE­LINES which give se­nior nurses the power to de­cide whether to re­sus­ci­tate se­ri­ously ill pa­tients are di­vid­ing Jewish med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als.

The Bri­tish Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion, the Royal Col­lege of Nurs­ing and the Re­sus­ci­ta­tion Coun­cil (UK) stated that “suit­ably ex­pe­ri­enced nurses may make de­ci­sions if lo­cal pol­icy al­lows”. Pre­vi­ously, only doc­tors were able to make such de­ci­sions.

Dr Jonathan Singer, based at Bridge House NHS health care cen­tre in North Lon­don, be­lieves that life-and-death de­ci­sions “should be made by a doc­tor who knows the pa­tient well. I don’t see how they dare give a se­nior nurse that re­spon­si­bil­ity”. But Michelle Suskin, a con­sul­tant in anaes­thet­ics at Wat­ford Gen­eral Hospi­tal, said se­nior nurses should be able “to make a de­ci­sion to pre­vent a pa­tient hav­ing treat­ment against their wishes”.

Lib­eral Ju­daism chief ex­ec­u­tive and Kingston Hospi­tal chap­lain Rabbi Danny Rich agreed: “Quite of­ten, nurses are just as close to pa­tients as doc­tors are.”

Dr Vivi­enne Nathanson, head of science and ethics at the BMA, said the guide­lines had been pub­lished af­ter the Men­tal Ca­pac­ity Act be­came law on Oc­to­ber 1. “Be­cause of changes in leg­is­la­tion, it was sen­si­ble to up­date our guide­lines. There are now nurse-con­sul­tants look­ing af­ter pa­tients when no one else is in­volved, so we needed to deal with th­ese is­sues,” she said.

Lon­don Charedi school prin­ci­pal Rabbi Avra­ham Pin­ter said it was “im­per­a­tive that, in health au­thor­i­ties that serve the Jewish com­mu­ni­ties, lo­cal poli­cies should take ac­count of the sanc­tity that the Jewish com­mu­nity puts on life”. If not, peo­ple “would not have con­fi­dence in hav­ing their loved ones in hospi­tal”.

The Board of Deputies said: “All pa­tients and fam­i­lies should be al­lowed to con­sult with their re­li­gious ad­viser, and doc­tors — in­clud­ing ‘nurse con­sul­tants’ — should be ed­u­cated, trained, and briefed as to the role of halachah (Jewish law) in the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.