Bournemouth hospital doctors 'signed death warrant'

Kevin and June Brook
Image caption June Brook is now back at home with her son after a spell in hospital

Doctors at a Dorset hospital signed a "do not resuscitate" order on a patient without informing her or her family.

June Brook, 79, had been admitted to Royal Bournemouth Hospital with sickness and diarrhoea but during her stay the order was issued to allow her to die if she needed resuscitating.

The order, which states the family were "not available", was found in Mrs Brook's bag after she was discharged.

The hospital has apologised and promised an investigation.

The order, which stays on a patient's records, was signed by two doctors and dated 10 October 2013. It states CPR would be inappropriate because Mrs Brook has dementia.

'Legalised euthanasia'

Mrs Brook's son, Kevin, said: "It would basically have meant that they would have not resuscitated her and she would now no longer be with us.

"To me it looks like a death warrant.

"It's like legalised euthanasia. I'm gobsmacked - I don't know why they have written it."

A hospital spokesman said: "When a clinical decision needs to be made that CPR should not be attempted, and the patient is not able to do this, relatives must be consulted. They may be able to help by indicating what the patient would decide, if able to do so.

"On this occasion this discussion did not happen, for which we sincerely apologise. The reasons why this did not happen and why proper processes for communicating with next of kin were not followed are being investigated.

"We have not received any communication from the patient's family and we will therefore be contacting them to clearly understand their concerns and help us carry out a thorough investigation and learn from this. Further education for staff on this part of the patient pathway would form part of this improvement."

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