'For a year, I lived in fear that if I went to hospital I would never wake up'

June Bennett
June Bennett -Credit:Jason Roberts/LancsLive

A woman has described how she has been living in fear since doctors put a 'do not resuscitate' form on her records without her knowledge.

June Bennett, a retired senior lecturer in management, was admitted to Blackpool Victoria Hospital last March after injuring her shoulder while falling down the stairs at her home in Lytham. She ended up staying for six weeks after catching Covid.

When she finally returned home she was reading through her discharge notes and was shocked to discover a Do Not Resuscitate form had been added to her records. It was the first time she, or any of her family, had seen it.


The DNR form, which was signed by a doctor and has been seen by LancsLive, does not include any notes in the section where references to discussions with family should be recorded.

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.

"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.

June was told she was "strong" by doctors
June was told she was "strong" by doctors -Credit:Manchester Evening News

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

June, 84, said: "The doctors themselves said I was very strong so it really worried me. It was like they were saying '84 all out'.

"I know that I fell and lost a lot of blood and I got Covid in hospital. I would have been home three or four weeks before had I not got Covid. it's like they think it's not worth saving the lives of older patients."

June recently had an appointment to assess her recovery from the shoulder injury and mentioned her concerns about the DNR to the orthopaedic doctor.

"He wrote on [the DNR form] that I want to be resuscitated, and he did say they only last a certain length of time but the thing on my mind is that it's on my record. Someone could misinterpret it and assume it's still valid.

"It might not be valid anymore but I don't want to take that chance. I'm strong and independent; I live on my own, I don't have any health issues, I do my own housework, I garden and I drive."

-Credit:Manchester Evening News
-Credit:Manchester Evening News

June initially contacted LancsLive last month 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.

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."

While June has not yet made the call to the patients relations team she does intend to. She has also instructed her solicitor to write to the hospital trust to request the DNR be removed from her records.

She added: "I saw my solicitor for a different matter and I've asked him to send a letter requesting it be removed. He did that there and then so hopefully that will be sent to the patient relations team."