DOCTORS at The Royal Bournemouth Hospital have been accused of “signing a death warrant” after issuing an order that allowed a dementia patient to die if she became seriously ill.

June Brook, 79, was being treated for sickness and diarrhoea, but during her stay doctors, signed a “do not resuscitate” order without informing the family.

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

Two doctors signed the order, which stays on a patient's records, stating that CPR would be inappropriate because Mrs Brook has dementia.

The hospital has since apologised and promised an investigation.

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."


All hospital trusts work to joint guidelines on a Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) issued by the Resuscitation Council (UK), Royal College of Nursing and British Medical Association.

They only apply to CPR, when the re-establishing of heart and lung action after cardiac or respiratory arrest is required.

Clinical decisions about CPR often need to be taken on best interests grounds because the burdens of the act of CPR on the patient outweigh the benefits.