The Catholic Weekly 26 April 2020

$2 It’s so wrong ... I don’t care how old that person is, they’ve got a right [to treatment].” Lorraine Lewis DISABILITY AND pro-life ad- vocates and faith leaders are concerned at signs that some of the people most vulnerable to COVID-19 may be triaged out of life-saving treatment. But the Catholic health care sector is adamant that “no pa- tient will be left behind”. The recent discovery of a Perth grandmother that she had been assigned a ‘do not resuscitate’ order against her wishes when she was hos- pitalised with the virus is a troubling example of ‘ableism’ being seen here and overseas, says director of HOPE Branka van der Linden. “Our concern is that the elderly and people with dis- abilities or those living with chronic illnesses already feel judged about their quality of life,” Ms van der Linden told The Catholic Weekly . “Add into the mix a ration- ing of medical and health resources because of the coronavirus, and suddenly vulnerable people can feel es- pecially at risk of doctors mak- ing value judgments about whether they are ‘deserving’ of life saving treatment, or whether these should be allo- cated to someone younger or healthier or without disabili- ties.” The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has also ad- dressed the problem, calling on Australian governments to ensure that responses to COV- ID-19 include dedicated strat- egies and take the necessary measures to protect and sup- port people with disability. In a statement of concern it said that one of the main wor- ries it had heard from people with a disability is that “dis- crimination or unconscious bias could impact their ac- cess to critical and lifesaving health care during this crisis”. Lorraine Lewis, 71, con- tracted the virus in Italy. Upon returning to Perth she was admitted to the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and asked if she wanted a ‘do not resuscitate’ instruction if her condition worsened. She declined, but was later shocked to find her discharge papers said that she did not want CPR, ICU or intubation. Ms Lewis told media last week that she assumed the decision was made on her behalf because she had been classified as elderly. CONTINUED P2 Elderly dispensables Advocates alarmed by medical trend relegating aged Covid sufferers to ‘not to be resuscitated’ ¾ ¾ Marilyn Rodrigues A SYDNEY sister is working around the clock to help the thousands of exhausted sea- farers caught up in the centre of the COVID-19 pandemic. Known as the “angel of Sydney’s waterfront”, Sr Mary Leahy has spent the past 20 years helping those who earn a living on the seas and said she has never seen conditions so desperate. Trapped on what has been described as “floating pris- ons”, many of the world’s 1.6 million seafarers already at sea for up to ninemonths have no real sign of when they will be able to return home. The current restrictions have been likened to a ’time bomb’ in the maritime indus- try with all shore leave denied internationally, leaving sea- farers stuck on ships and play- ing havoc with not only their physical but mental health. CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 ¾ ¾ Debbie Cramsie Sister Mary is seafarers’ first mate 26, April, 2020 A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY CONFESSIONS OF A FEMINIST HERETIC P12 P19 Angel of Sydney’s waterfront … Sr Mary Leahy with Port Botany staff Charlie Langham, Dane Galvin and Bernie Farrelly preparing to deliver Care Packages to recently docked seafarers. PHOTO:ALPHONSUS FOK