Woman reveals she wrote a letter to 'prove her worth'

Woman shielding during lockdown reveals she wrote a letter to ‘prove her worth’ after reading government frailty guidance which said she may not receive ventilation if needed

  • Jenny Hirst, from the UK, appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning
  • Revealed she has been ‘shielding’ during lockdown because of health condition
  • ‘Distressed’ by government guidance that she may not get a ventilator if needed
  • Decided to ‘prove her worth’ by ‘writing a letter on why it’s important to save me’

A woman shielding during lockdown due to her health condition has revealed how she wrote a letter to ‘prove her worth’ after reading government guidance which said she may not receive a ventilator if needed. 

Jenny Hirst, from the UK, who is classed as ‘extremely vulnerable’, has been following government guidance ‘very rigidly’ since March by not leaving her home and minimising all face-to-face contact.

She told Radio 4’s Today programme this morning that she was left ‘distressed’ after reading frailty guidance which suggested she may not be able to access a ventilator if she needed one.

Jenny said she felt compelled to ‘prove her worth’, revealing: ‘I decided that I would write a letter to say why it’s important to save me.’

Jenny Hirst, from the UK, revealed she wrote a letter to ‘prove her worth’ after reading government guidance which suggested she may not receive ventilation if she needed it (stock image)  

The Government announced it would contact 1.5 million people by March 29 to tell them if they are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ and should be ‘shielding’.

Those with the most serious health conditions were advised to take steps to ensure they are ‘largely shielded from social contact’ for around 12 weeks. 

Jenny, who normally employs her own carers through a personal care budget, said she had not seen anyone except her personal carers since the start of the lockdown.

She revealed: ‘I’m a person who is in the shielding group so I’ve followed the governments guidance very rigidly, not going out, not seeing anyone, except for care visits.’

NICE recommends NHS clinicians use the controversial Clinical Frailty Scale when considering patients for intensive care. It ranks patients’ frailty from one to nine and is designed to prioritise those most likely to recover from the killer virus.

‘I’ve been trying to maintain distance, so even my PA I only have very close to me when I need physical support.’   

But she revealed she was horrified by frailty guidance issued in April that detailed a controversial ‘scoring system’ over who would be prioritized to receive NHS care.

The controversial ‘Clinical Frailty Scale’ (CFS) ranks patients’ vulnerability from one to nine in order to prioritise those most likely to recover from the killer virus.

Eight million ‘vulnerable’ workers should not leave lock-down, study warns

Another 30,000 Brits could die from coronavirus if the vulnerable are not protected during the easing of lockdown restrictions, scientists have warned.

Scientists at University College London and Cambridge University published a paper estimating the death toll could rise to 73,000 within a year.

They said people with long-term conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung conditions would make up between 80 and 90 per cent of the fatalities.

One in five people – more than 8million people in Britain – are at a higher risk of dying if they catch COVID-19 because of their age or poor health.

Those people should not be pushed to return to work when lockdown is eased, and must be protected for as long as possible, the scientists said.

In a separate, worst-case scenario estimate the team predicted up to 590,000 people could die if the Government did nothing and 80 per cent of the population were infected within a year.

Office for National Statistics data today suggested more than 40,000 people have already died with COVID-19, confirming Britain’s status as the worst-hit nation in Europe. 

But the researchers said this is set to rise much higher.

Those with a combined score of more than five are said to have uncertainty around the benefits of critical care, according to the system, which has been implemented while NHS hospitals desperately scramble to free up beds and ventilators.

Jenny explained: ‘The thing that caused me more distress is when the government decided they were going to publish the frailty guidance.’

‘I looked to see, how frail am I? Am I going to get a ventilator if I need one? And then the reality of, according to that guidance, no not necessarily.’

Jenny went on to explain how she was left wondering how she could ‘prove’ her life was worth saying.

She said: ‘And then I was thinking, how can I prove my worth to people to get that treatment if I need to?’

‘I decided that I would write a letter which is why it’s important to save me.’

Jenny revealed: ‘I talked about the work I’ve done, the people I supported are very grateful, that I’m involved with other initiatives that are helping the community.’

‘Even down to the fact that I have two lovely cats and they would be homeless. just a whole range of things. anything that came to my mind.’

Jenny added her distress was furthered by continual changed to the deadline as to when she can return to a more normal life.   

Jenny explained: ‘You think it’s going to be for 12 weeks, and then its going to be the 30th June, and then it’s 14 weeks. Now it’s how long is it going to be?’

The controversial guidance was released in April, with coronavirus patients are ranked out of nine based on their age, frailty and underlying conditions.

People are deemed ‘severely frail’ if they are ‘completely dependent for personal care’, the guidance says.

That would put them at a total of seven points before underlying health conditions are even considered.

Those with a combined score of more than five are said to have uncertainty around the benefits of critical care, according to the system.

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