Paralympian made to feel ‘not worthy’ when asked to sign Do Not Resuscitate form

A Paralympian has spoken out about a “bizarre” appointment during which she was made to feel “not worthy” by being asked to sign a “Do Not Resuscitate” form.

Helene Raynsford, who does not have a life-limiting condition, said she felt compelled to share her experience in order to try to protect other disabled people.

The champion rower said she was asked to sign form – known as a DNR – by a person who was not a trained healthcare worker, the Guardian reported.

She said she “politely declined” to sign the form and told how her GP was “horrified” and “so apologetic” when she informed them about what had happened.

“She said to me that I’m not the kind of individual who should be having these forms put upon me,” Raynsford, who won single sculls gold at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, said.

The sportswoman said the person at the appointment had asked her what her understanding of her medical condition was and if she had power of attorney.

Raynsford told the Guardian: “I was quite frustrated about the whole thing. It made me feel not worthy. The only information this person knew was that I’m a wheelchair user. I’m a huge fan of really good end-of-life care and talking about options, but I don’t have a life-limiting condition at the moment.

“The whole appointment felt bizarre. It would worry me if any snap decisions were made about this. I feel these kinds of conversations should be had with healthcare professionals who know the individual, not with people without medical training.”

She said it made her wonder if a judgment was being made about the value of her life compared with someone else’s and whether it would mean her life would “not be deemed worthy of saving” if, for example, she was injured in a car crash.

She said: “Not much gets me down, but this really stopped me in my tracks and made me feel my worthiness for treatment was being questioned.”

The Guardian reported that the incident happened after Raynsford was invited to an appointment initiated by a primary care network in the south-east of England.