Family wants law changed after Sunderland man’s death

Carl Winspear died in Sunderland Royal Hospital.
Carl Winspear died in Sunderland Royal Hospital.
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THE grieving family of a disabled man who died in hospital are calling for a change in the law on telling relatives about orders not to resuscitate patients.

Carl Winspear, pictured, from Concord, Washington, who suffered from cerebral palsy, died from pneumonia at Sunderland Royal Hospital in January.

An inquest into his death recorded a verdict of natural causes.

But the 28-year-old’s close-knit family have raised concerns over a “Do Not Resuscitate” order (DNR) which was placed on Carl’s file while he was in hospital. They are now taking the case up with their MP.

They say the order was made at 3am one day after a decision taken by doctors.

His family was not informed until the following day, as there is no requirement for medics to consult with patients’ loved ones before issuing the order.

In Carl’s case, his family believe the DNR order was made because it was physically impossible to resuscitate him due to his condition.

His mother Elaine said: “It’s not that fact that they are issuing DNRs, but the fact that they are not informing the families.

“We don’t totally disagree with them if someone is going to suffer and it is discussed with the families before it is issued and they agree.

“Carl could not speak for himself, so I have made decisions for him for 28 years and that day my decision was taken away from me.”

Carl’s aunty Sandra Noble added: “They said they wrote the DNR at 3am and did not want to bother us, but it is so crucial they need to involve the families.”

Washington MP Sharon Hodgson has said she will be meeting Carl’s family and has written to the chief executive of Sunderland Royal Hospital.

A spokeswoman for City Hospitals Sunderland said: “The trust can confirm that a Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decision was made by the doctor treating Carl during the night of January 2 and 3, based on his condition at the time.

“The doctor made the order, as he believed that in the event of a cardiopulmonary arrest, resuscitation would be unsuccessful.

“Attempted CPR is an active intervention that can be traumatic and can both cause harm and result in death occurring in a manner that the patient and people close to the patient would not have wished.

“The doctor therefore made this decision in what he believed was Carl’s best interest at the time.

“It was noted in the medical records that this decision ‘should be discussed with Carl’s family the next morning’.

“Following that discussion, which did take place, the DNACPR was removed and this change was documented in the case notes.”

Twitter: @janethejourno