NHS England: A Call to Action
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Under hand

My dad (97)was in hospital with dehydration with confusion late November.a week later I took him home in his discharge notes was a dnr signed to say my dad understood.i challenged this as a couple of days later he could not remember a doctor talking to him.if I had been consulted it might have been different but because at that time they said he was ok they did it.as they do not know my dad as I do they signed it but I know my dad is complient with most things even if he did not hear correctly.i was also surprised when told at the hospital that his hernia could not be dealt with because of his age and as I had not seen it I accepted this.last Friday he had another confusion at home and I called round as I had a call from the carer and saw my dad sat on the side of the bed and saw his hernia hanging from his groin area,it was the size of a small football.how can somebody be left to walk about like this?

6 Replies

Much as you must love your dad, I think you have to be a little bit realistic here. I'm elderly and quite capable of forgetting that someone spoke to me casually a few days ago. I'm not yet 97 though. When the doc put that in his notes, he might as well have added, "understood for a man of his advanced years", because he, as a trained doctor would understand the workings of the mind of a very elderly, sick man and can't really have any responsibility for the memory of a person of 97.

With regard to surgery, it would mean almost certain death for your dad at his very advanced age. It sounds harsh, but doctors and surgeons aren't magicians. Bodies age and wear out and your dad has done amazingly well to reach such an advanced age.

Treasure him, make him as comfortable as you can, but please don't have expectations beyond the remit of what the medical profession can deliver for him.


all wrong,relatives like to be involved and be there and i would have agreed with this but to find it in notes when you get home is wrong.are you in the uk?this document is called DNACPR which has only been signed by the consultant,if i had been there then ok it also states "write clearly"some i could not read.do not give excuses,had his hernia for years but nothing said the three times in hospital or by his gp.so how can a man with faulty memory have a document signed by a consultant without a witness to say it happened?do not tell me what the medical "profession" can do,trust has gone out the door!


Yes, I am in UK, and respect your view that I'm wrong. As with all things it is a matter of opinion. Yours isn't mine but I wish you well in your quest for 'justice' in this, but I stick to my view that you probably won't get very far with your complaint.


Earlook, We felt my Mum was 'talked' into having DNR on her medical care plan notes, Mum herself did not want DNR on the care plan. So we wrote a note to her Doctor asking for the 'DNR' to be taken off, we both signed it. The Doctor did take the DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) off the next up dated care plan.

These personal care plan notes from Doctors are available to other departments such as Hospital and Ambulance services.


you would probably be surprised at the numbers of elderly who will agree to a DNR, my mother and many of her f fiends want a DNR in place, as far as I know it's becoming a standard form... not everyone wants to live on if quality of life is low or suffering chronic pain. I work with the elderly and most have a DNR in place with conditions written in for when a DNR can be activated


I am sorry to hear of your circumstances.

You should be able to find the DNACPR policy for the respective hospital (trust) online. The GMC and Resuscitation Council also offer publicly available advice that HCPs should be following in the proceedings; all these resources should highlight the considerations and premises for making such a decision, which is all directly related to the patient.

In making the DNACPR decision, if your father is considered legally 'competent' (also referred to as 'has capacity') then he should be involved in the decision making process; otherwise the healthcare team should otherwise involve the person(s) with the right to make decisions for your Father.

You could entertain the possibility that your Father did not consent to disclose information regarding the DNACPR decision to any relative, possibly in order to avoid any upset, or that the decision was an advanced directive made at an earlier time.

Ultimately, you should understand that a DNACPR decision is not like a 'treatment' which should be consented to, rather a decision not to treat, and the sometimes 'necessary evil' is that treatment - including resuscitation - cannot be demanded. Most view this as a benevolent decision, when you consider the ratios of success of resuscitation even in hospital, especially in the elder age groups, then the incredibly low ratios of survival with full function following successful resuscitation. Finally, please consider that the process of resuscitation is intense and traumatic, both for the patient, friends and relatives, and the healthcare team.


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