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Family that accused hospital of putting a “do not resuscitate” notice in patient’s notes was in denial, says judge

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8635 (Published 20 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8635
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

A terminally ill patient’s family who took legal action over two “do not resuscitate” (DNR) notices in her medical notes was “in denial” about her prognosis and was protecting her by not discussing it, a High Court judge has ruled.

Janet Tracey’s husband, David, claimed that the two notices were put in his wife’s notes without her knowledge and without the agreement of her daughters, in breach of the policy of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and in violation of her human rights.1

The trust denied that the DNR notices were made without consultation, and Mrs Justice Nicola Davies was asked to resolve a factual conflict between the family and the trust’s doctors before the court went on to consider whether …

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