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Unrequested DNR notice caused death

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

An inquest has heard that NHS staff “played God” when they put a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ (DNR) notice on an elderly man before he died, despite the fact that he did not request one. 66-year-old great grandfather Michael Richardson, from Great Yarmouth, died in James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston, in 2013.  He had been diagnosed with a lung condition and was only given an estimated one year to live. His widow, 65-year-old Janet Richardson, accused NHS staff of playing God after she discovered that they had placed a DNR notice by his name.

During an inquest in Norwich, Mrs Richardson said that her husband had attempted to leave the hospital the day prior to his death because he was concerned about the levels of oxygen hospital staff were providing him with.  She said that he had said to her on the day: “take me home – I can’t stand it anymore. They’re trying to kill me.

“loads of opportunities for staff to talk to me”

Four days after the day of his death, Mrs Richardson returned to the hospital to collect his death certificate.  This is when she discovered that a DNR notice had been placed on his name. Assistant coroner David Osborne asked if she had given consent for this, to which she answered “No, nothing at all.”

She said: “I visited the hospital twice a day. There would have been loads of opportunities for staff to talk to me. If he had been asked about the DNR notice, he would have said no, I know that.

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