Letter to hospital that threw out heart attack patient for declining COVID test

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Written by: Miri
July 8, 2021
 | 2 Comments

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to you regarding a deeply distressing and dangerously medically negligent experience I endured at your hospital on [date].

As a long-time angina sufferer, when I experienced chest pains when out with my daughter on [date], I concluded I was experiencing an angina attack and did not seek medical attention. However, when I described the symptoms to my wife, she felt this sounded like something more serious, and continually urged me to see a doctor. When the pains returned eleven days later, I called an ambulance. The attendant paramedics who arrived at my home were extremely kind and compassionate, and provided the level of professionalism and care that I would expect from our National Health Service. They agreed with my wife that I needed further medical care, and so took me to [name of] hospital.

I then underwent an ECG, X-ray and bloodwork, the results of which showed I had suffered a heart attack. The hospital advised that they would put in a stent, at which point I was moved to a cubicle. I was obviously in some considerable state of shock and distress at my diagnosis, when two nurses entered the cubicle and informed me that they would be performing a Covid nasal swab. I indicated to them that I did not wish to receive such a test, to which they replied that the nasal swab was non-negotiable, and if I did not agree to receive it, I would have to leave the hospital. 

I patiently and politely explained to them why I did not wish to receive a nasal swab, referencing the facts that neither the lateral flow nor PCR tests are reliable indicators of infectious viral disease (1, 2, 3). I have taken the time to familiarise myself at length with the science surrounding Covid testing, and the fact that the nasal swab is potentially dangerous, as it can easily damage the delicate membranes at the top of the nasal cavity, potentially causing brain fluid to leak (4). Of further concern is the fact that many nasal swabs have been found to be contaminated, due to inadequate quality controls (5).

Further, however, even if a diagnostic is shown to be entirely safe and effective, patients should never be coerced into receiving it, as clearly, any form of coercion completely invalidates the principles of informed consent by which the medical profession is, rightly, so strictly governed.

The NHS, and its governing body, the General Medical Council, are legally bound by the Montgomery ruling (6), which makes it abundantly clear that all medical processes must have the informed consent of the patient. Furthermore, the critical importance of expressly free and fully informed consent for all medical interventions is enshrined in law by both the Nuremberg Code (7) and UNESCO's Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (8), which states at Article 6, Section 1:

"Any preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical intervention is only to be carried out with the prior, free and informed consent of the person concerned, based on adequate information. The consent should, where appropriate, be express and may be withdrawn by the person concerned at any time and for any reason without disadvantage or prejudice."

Therefore, I was deeply shocked and dismayed to be in receipt of such coercive treatment from NHS nursing staff, in an attempt to pressurise me into receiving a test I did not want nor deem necessary - and which had no relationship to the life-threatening medical issue for which I had been admitted to hospital. 

I was treated with such a level of callous disregard by the nursing staff who attempted to coerce me into compliance that, despite requiring urgent medical care, because I would not comply with their unethical and illegal demands, I was forced to leave the hospital. 

This episode has left me with profound and enduring feelings of trauma and distress, and, as you will appreciate, in no mood to further seek the services of the NHS, so I attempted to retrieve my test results from the hospital in order that I could arrange private care. However, when I telephoned the hospital, in an attempt to have my results sent to me, the staff who dealt with me were rude and uncooperative - at one point putting the phone down on me - and would not volunteer my results. They eventually told me to phone my GP, which I did, only to be told to telephone the hospital. This went on for several days, with the hospital and my GP referring me back and forth and nobody giving me my results. Meanwhile, I was still without my urgent follow-up care.

At the current time, my pulse is continually in the dangerously high range of 110-120 beats per minute, and the appalling way I have been treated by staff at [name of] hospital is causing me an inordinate amount of stress and anxiety, which is potentially dangerously worsening an already dangerous situation. Please note that I have six young children, and my wife has no family other than me. Were anything to happen to me, the consequences for my family would be dire. 

I seek your prompt and urgent response detailing what action you will take to ensure protocols of informed consent are upheld at your hospital at all times; how the staff who violated these principles will be disciplined; and what steps you will take to compensate me for this atrocious experience.

Please note I am taking ongoing legal advice on this situation.

Yours sincerely,

[Name]

References:

1) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/12/experts-call-for-rethink-lateral-flow-mass-testing-covid-uk

2) https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/01/12/covid-19-government-must-urgently-rethink-lateral-flow-test-roll-out/

3) https://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/22/health/22whoop.html

4) https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-swab-test-woman-s-nose-brain-leaked-a4562066.html

5) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/coronavirus-lab-testing-kits-contamination-false-positives-delay-a9472601.html

6) https://www.themdu.com/guidance-and-advice/guides/montgomery-and-informed-consent

7) https://www.bmj.com/content/313/7070/1448.1

8) http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=31058&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

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2 comments on “Letter to hospital that threw out heart attack patient for declining COVID test”

  1. […] Inflicting this kind of coercive¬†bullying on a heart attack patient is not only profoundly unethical and illegal, as per the Montgomery ruling and multiple treaties on medical ethics and human rights, it is also deeply negligent, as it meant I left the hospital without receiving further or follow-up care. I have written a letter of complaint directly to the hospital, which is attached. […]

  2. and interestingly, are the NHS going to refund your lifetimes contributions to NI? This is a service we have all 'bought into' and moving goalposts without prior notice, agreement or mandate is not acceptable nor lawful. I would be interested in the response of that hospital dictator trying to impose such policy - no doubt initiated by incompetent flunkies of the powerful pharma behind all the orchestrations at present. Your family need monitor your condition as they have a case of negligence most undoubtedly and dereliction of duty and contraventions of so many known laws that remain applicable.

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