NHS doctor reveals she is asking patients if they want to die at home or in hospital

·2-min read
A sign points the way to a NHS 111 Coronavirus Pod at The Royal London Hospital in London on March 23, 2020. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Sunday he may impose tougher controls on the British public as packed parks, markets and cafes at the weekend showed thousands of people defying government warnings about social distancing. The PM gave notice of potential tougher action as the latest health department figures revealed that 281 people had now died from COVID-19 in the UK, an increase of almost 50 fatalities in the past 24 hours, and there are 5,683 confirmed cases. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
The coronavirus outbreak has put significant strain on the NHS. (Getty)

A doctor says she is having to ask patients whether they would prefer to die at home or in hospital as the NHS struggles to cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

Dr Katie Sanderson, a junior doctor in acute medicine at a London hospital, told BBC Radio 4 the health service was being put under severe strain by the rising rate of infections.

The situation is now so bad that she has been forced to ask patients and their families about where they want to die if their condition deteriorates, she added.

“I’m having conversations with patients and families of patients asking if they want to die in hospital, where we’re not allowed to have visitors, or if they want to die at home.”

A matrix road sign on the A367 into Bath advises motorists to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A matrix road sign on the A367 into Bath advises motorists to stay at home to protect the NHS. (PA)

“They’re conversations that last week I cannot have imagined having.”

“Even if this is not the situation in hospitals outside London yet, things are going to evolve incredibly rapidly there and what I would say is; don’t think about hospital bed numbers, intensive care, capacity today.

“Think about where we will be tomorrow, the day after, next week.”

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Dr Sanderson urged people to follow the government’s advice and observe the lockdown conditions.

“Really, really, take this seriously,” she told MailOnline, “I have heard people say, ‘I want to get coronavirus so that I will be immune.’ It doesn’t work like that.

“If you do not take this seriously, you are condemning someone to potentially dying with a nurse they don’t know, because we are not allowing visitors in hospitals. That, or dying at home.”

Global cases of coronavirus have risen sharply since January. (PA)
Global cases of coronavirus have risen sharply since January. (PA)

“Challenge someone if you think they are doing something dangerous; anything you see that is dangerous. Don’t just think someone else is going to do it.”

Her plea comes after Boris Johnson announced a series of sweeping draconian measures which will be in place for at least three weeks and will also see the closure of libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship.

He also threatened police fines for anyone who ignores new measures including a ban on public gatherings of more than two people.

Johnson ordered people to only leave the house to shop for basic necessities “as infrequently as possible” and to perform one form of exercise a day.

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