Terminally-ill Hebburn man urges others to think about end-of-life plans

Dan George with his mother Mary, left, and consultant Kathryn Mannix.
Dan George with his mother Mary, left, and consultant Kathryn Mannix.

A terminally-ill man has spoken out about end-of-life care to encourage others to think about what they want before it’s too late.

Dan George was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) – a progressive muscle-wasting disease – at the age of two.

It was something which was getting me depressed, but now I can get on and life my life.

Dan George

Over the years his mother Mary Lavery has watched her son go from being a sprightly young boy to someone who relies heavily on her to do everyday tasks.

There is no cure for the condition, which the family know will eventually claim his life.

Dan, 22, says he knew in his heart he did not want to spend the last days of his life in a hospital hooked up to a ventilation machine.

Instead, he has decided he wants to be at home and does not want to be resuscitated.

Now, his wishes have been recorded officially in an emergency care plan.

The move is all part of the NHS Deciding right programme, which has been signed up to by trusts, GPs, social care and the ambulance service across the region.

Deciding Right aims to give people the chance to make decisions over their future care before their condition worsens.

Dan, of Mons Avenue, Hebburn, says being able to make the plans for his future care gave him “some control back in my life.”

“I have such a supportive family, which made things so much easier for me to talk to them about this.

“It was something which was getting me depressed, but now I can get on and life my life.

“It is a hard conversation to have, but I do feel much better knowing I have done this.”

Mrs Lavery, 50, said: “For me, every day is like watching a little piece of my son dying.

“Discussing and putting down what Dan wants as part of his future care and end of life was hard, but I now know what he wants and we can now move on and enjoy whatever time we have left with him.”

Kathryn Mannix, consultant in palliative care, said: “What is really important about Deciding Right is that anyone in a similar situation, with a long-term condition, should know they can make these plans in advance.

“It could really help many people, and ensure that medical teams know exactly how to treat someone in an emergency.

“Deciding Right helps people to get the right care quickly, and to avoid interventions that they don’t want or need.”

For information on Deciding Right visit the website HERE.