Crippen reports on action from disabled activist Doug Paulley

Doug Paulley, disabled activist, is taking legal action to force the government to make it clear that disabled people will have the same right to life-sustaining treatment as non-disabled people if they contract coronavirus.

Doug, along with three other disabled people, have instructed their solicitors to write to Health and Social Care secretary Matt Hancock and NHS England to challenge their failure to publish guidance for doctors on how to decide who receives life-saving treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, if demand outstrips supply.

They fear that, if they become ill with the virus, they and other disabled people will be viewed as less likely to benefit from such treatment than non-disabled people. In effect, seeing us pushed to the back of the queue for urgent treatment.

Doug told the Disability News Service that it was an “extremely worrying” time for him and other disabled people because they “just don’t know how doctors are going to prioritise life-saving treatment for coronavirus”.

He said: “I feel strongly that I should be given the same chance as anyone else – all I’m asking for is some reassurance that my life will be valued as much as the next person.”

Description of cartoon for those people using screen reading software

On the wall within a hospital is a large sign that reads ‘NHS – mental health, disability, oncology, and geriatrics’ and ‘follow the red line’. A red line then runs from the sign, along the floor and around the corner where the Grim Reaper, wearing a doctor’s white coat, is waiting alongside an open grave. There are wrapped bodies inside of the grave with a large wooden cross with RIP printed upon it at the head of the grave. The Grim Reaper has ‘COVID 19’ printed on his black gown and is pointing into the open grave.

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