A FATHER has hit out after a York Hospital doctor failed to consult next of kin before filling in a “do not attempt resuscitation” form for his son.
Hospital bosses have apologised for the mistake, which happened when kidney patient Andrew Watson’s condition deteriorated one night while his parents, Peter and Sheila, were asleep at their home in Wigginton.
Peter Watson only found out the following afternoon about the decision not to attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation if his son went into cardio respiratory arrest.
He said he would not have given consent for the form to be filled, had he been asked, because Andrew – who underwent three kidney transplants during his life – was a fighter who might have survived if resuscitation was attempted following a heart attack.
However, hospital bosses said a DNACPR form was not a consent form, but was intended as a record that a discussion about the decision had taken place.
Mr Watson said he disputed some of the findings of an investigation into the incident.
He said: “I do not intend to let this lie, as I do not want any patient, partner or next of kin to be put through the same distress that we had to suffer, and I don’t believe the trust will do anything constructive if left to manage it themselves.”
He said Andrew’s condition had improved after the incident, which happened in September, and he was able to go home for a while. However, it deteriorated later and he returned to hospital, where he died a month later, five months before he was due to get married.
Mr Watson said he feared insufficient steps had been taken to prevent a similar mistake happening with another patient in future at the hospital.
Sarah Lovell, directorate manager for acute and general medicine, who investigated the matter, said in a report that Andrew had not been well enough for the decision to have been discussed with him and the doctor concerned had intended to discuss it with his next of kin.
She acknowledged staff could have made more pro-active attempts to arrange for a discussion much earlier in the day.
She said: “I am sorry that we let Andrew and his family down with this lapse in communication, and for the distress it has caused you.”
Hospital foundation trust chief executive Patrick Crowley said in a letter to Mr Watson he recognised there were improvements to be made to the hospital’s DNACPR policy and the training of staff in its implementation.
Stance on last wishes is criticised
THE Care Quality Commission said in October that the final wishes of patients at York Hospital over whether they should be resuscitated in the event of an emergency had not been recorded correctly.
The commission gave the hospital 28 days to make improvements after inspectors raised serious concerns over the way “do not attempt resuscitation” forms were completed by staff.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients’ Association, said then it was disgraceful patients’ lives were being treated “so casually”.
The York trust said yesterday that the CQC report in October drew attention to a lack of documentation around the process, including some variation in practice between doctors, and an action plan was in place to address those concerns.
York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said it had investigated Mr Watson’s concerns as a complaint, and the results had been shared in full with the family, who had been given the opportunity to come back with any further concerns.
“We are unable to comment on individual cases,” said a spokeswoman.
“However, we recognise the importance and sensitivity of discussions with patients and their families regarding DNAR decisions.”
She said current good practice guidelines on decisions relating to CPR indicated that if there was no realistic chance of CPR being successful, then it was not appropriate specifically to seek the patient’s wishes about CPR, but rather that careful consideration was given to discussing the decision with the patient or their family.