Philip Schofield horrified as doctor says families should discuss if they want to be saved amid coronavirus outbreak – The Sun

PHILIP Schofield looked shocked on This Morning when a UK medical expert suggested asking family members "what they would want" should they become ill with coronavirus.

Dr. Alison Pittard said that older people with chronic health symptoms in particular, should be having conversations with their family so doctors don't have to 'guess'.

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The intensive care consultant joined Phil and Holly on the sofa with Dr Zoe Williams to discuss the latest on the pandemic and what Brits need to do to prepare.

Dr. Pittard, who is Dean of The Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, said: "I think one of the most important things that should happen is that we all  have conversations and think about what we would want, particularly older people who have chronic health conditions.

"So we know what they would want, irrespective of coronavirus."

Philip interjected, looking shocked, and asked: "Are we talking about Do Not Resuscitates (DNRs) here?"

She continued: "We are talking about shared decision making. If you forget coronavirus, we should all have a clear understanding about what we want to happen to us.

"I mean, I wouldn't want it to happen to me, because I've still got a long life to lead, but the important thing is, if somebody goes into hospital…"

The TV presenter cut her off before she was able to finish, and stuttered: "I think, and you are all professionals and we admire you enormously, it’s a fairly controversial thing to say, because I could be 83 and have Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) but have a lot of life to lead?"

If you don’t have conversation with your family and if you come into hospital and you can’t talk to us, how would your family know what you would want?

She said: "That’s exactly what I mean, because some people would say, if you’re this age and you have that disease and that quality of life we shouldn’t be treating you, but that’s not up to us to make that decision, that is up to the individual.

"So we would want you, at 83, with COPD, to say I’ve got a fantastic quality of life, I want to be treated because that is the right thing for you.

"If you don’t have conversation with your family and if you come into hospital and you can’t talk to us, how would your family know what you would want?"

Jumping into the uncomfortable interview, Dr Williams said: “I think these are the conversations that we encourage families to have with individuals who are in their last 12 months of life anyway so I think what we are saying here is this is something that night start these conversations.

"It’s a very small number of people we are talking about who are perhaps likely to succumb to something in the next twelve months, if they were to get coronavirus – but it’s a very small number."


She added: "I think what is very important is that our health care system that we have here is very different from what we have in Italy.

"We’ve had so much pre-prior warning, we are armed and we are ready."

Philip, who still looked concerned over the experts' approach, asked the doctors if there is a case of 'survival of the fittest' surrounding the treatment of the virus.

Dr. Pittard responded: "That isn't what I was saying, what I was saying was we need to make sure that we know what individual patients want from the NHS and if you don’t have the conversation and don’t think about it in advance, we’re guessing."

Dr Williams said: "I think it does raise an important point though, we keep hearing young fit healthy people will get a mild illness and will be fine. And we should be concerned about those who are at high risk.

"And we should, I’m not scared for me, I’m not scared for my 10-year-old nephew, I’m not scared for my dad because he’s in good health.

"But I am afraid for some of my patients and it takes all of us to do the right thing, which is actually at the moment to follow advice coming out of government and all of us to protect people who are vulnerable."

During the conversation, Dr. Pittard highlighted the gradual increase of patients but unchanging number of beds over the past ten years.

She explained that since the Swine Flu pandemic in 2009, a virus that killed up to 203,000 people worldwide, the number of patients needing to visit intensive care has increased by around 4 percent each year – and no change to the amount of beds or space provided.

She said: "So we’re starting off in a worse place now than we were then, so although we’ve got the strategies and we know what we need to do, we don’t know if we’ll cope, but what I can say is that anyone that needs to come into hospital or intensive care will get a first class service from the NHS."

It was announced yesterday by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that the virus is now a pandemic.

Italy, one of the worst affected countries, there are over 12,000 confirmed cases and the death toll stands at over 800. In the UK there are currently 590 people diagnosed and the number of people who have died stands at ten.

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