Horrified patient finds 'DNR form' in medical notes after leaving Blackpool hospital

A woman has spoken her 'terror' after returning home from hospital to find a do not resuscitate form had been put in her medical notes - without her or her family's knowledge.

June Bennett was admitted to Blackpool Victoria Hospital last March after falling down the stairs at her home in Lytham. She then unfortunately caught Covid, and ended up spending several weeks on the ward.

When June returned to her home, she was looking through her discharge notes when she spotted what is known as a DNACPR (do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation) form. The form, which she believes would effectively means that if June's heart were to stop, medics would not try to resuscitate her.


"I was terrified when I saw it," June, now 83, said. ".They'd never mentioned anything about it in hospital and I knew nothing about it.

"I showed it to my son and told him that if I ever did stop breathing I DO want resuscitating. I know I'm 83 but I'm not 83 if you know what I mean."

Although DNR forms can be completed without a patient's agreement NHS guidance states: "You must be told that a DNACPR form will be/has been completed for you, but a doctor does not need your consent.

June Bennett, 83 from Lytham, found a Do Not Resuscitate form in her records
June Bennett, 83 from Lytham, found a Do Not Resuscitate form in her records -Credit:Jason Roberts/LancsLive

"Doctors can only not tell you that a DNACPR form has been completed for you if they think doing so would cause you physical or psychological harm. You should be given the chance to understand what a DNACPR is, how the decision is made and why they think CPR would not be suitable for you.

"For example, your doctor may think that CPR will not help you live longer or that giving you CPR could cause you more harm. This may be because your organs are already too damaged because of another illness or you are approaching the end of your life.

"You should then be consulted, and doctors should ask about your wishes and preferences. Your doctor makes the final decision."

A form, seen by LancsLive, shows a section on the form where either consultation with June or her family would be recorded left blank. The document has been signed by a doctor.

June contacted LancsLive with her concerns after reading about the death of Pat Dawson from Rawtenstall. Pat, 73, died at the Royal Blackburn Hospital after nurses looked at the wrong patient's records and found a DNR form.

When Pat's heart stopped medics made no attempt to resuscitate her. A few minutes later, they realised their error, but by that point it was too late to attempt to revive Pat.

"It's horrifying when you think that at that moment you can't speak for yourself so you're reliant on them doing the right thing," June said. "And what about the people who don't check through their own records?

"If my heart had stopped while I was in there then they would have just let me die. Nobody spoke to me about this form or talked to my family or anything."

A spokesman for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Thank you to Mrs Bennett for raising this concern. If she would like to contact our patient relations team they can start an investigation. She can contact them on 01253 955588 or email bfwh.patientrelations@nhs.net."