Skip to content

Janet Tracey DNR Case Goes To Court Of Appeal

May 6, 2014

The case of a dying woman who was not consulted before a “do not resuscitate” notice was placed in her medical records is due to be heard in the Court of Appeal.

Janet Tracey, who had terminal lung cancer, died in hospital in Cambridge three years ago.

Her family are pushing for a national policy about how the notices should be used in the NHS in England.

Addenbrooke’s Hospital says its doctors acted in Mrs Tracey’s best interests.

Mrs Tracey, who managed a care home for the elderly, was suffering from advanced lung cancer when she was taken to hospital after a serious car crash.

Janet Tracey’s husband and daughters were distressed when a “do not resuscitate” notice was put in her hospital records.

It was cancelled after the family complained, though a second was later put in place – after talks with the family and two days before Mrs Tracey died at the age of 63.

No-one suggested resuscitation was needed when she died.

‘Lack of information’

Mrs Tracey’s daughter, Kate Masters, 47, said: “The situation really has to change so that no other families are left like mine are.

“How someone’s end of life is handled really does live with the family forever.

“At the moment, the policy on managing resuscitation is down to each trust – including each ambulance trust.

“The end result is that nobody gets any clear information when it comes to patient level. And that can be heartbreaking.”

Mrs Tracey’s husband, Dave, 66, said: “There needs to be some clarity, so people can understand the situation and what is going on with your particular loved one at the time.

“This has been going on so long. I personally can’t turn a corner in my life while this case is hanging over us.”

‘Decision-making process’

Resuscitation is a complex area – doctors and nurses have to assess whether the intervention is likely to restore breathing, or leave the patient more ill.

Another of Mrs Tracey’s daughters, Alison Noeland, 43, said: “We’ve had contact from relatives of patients, who have been through a similar experience, that they shouldn’t have to go through.

“And some doctors have been contacting us too, saying they hope that we can bring some change.”

The family’s solicitor, Merry Varney from Leigh Day, said: “This case is not about giving patients the right to demand cardio-pulmonary resuscitation in any circumstance.

“This is about the decision-making process, and the rights of patients to be involved in how those decisions are made, and to know that those decision have been made about them.”

A spokesman from Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The issues that will be considered by the Court of Appeal have now been considerably reduced.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.

“Previously the High Court judge ruled that that Addenbrooke’s Hospital doctors acted professionally and in the best interest of Mrs Tracey.”

No figures about the use of resuscitation notices are collected centrally. The Department of Health said it could not comment while legal proceedings continued.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Barry Davies permalink
    May 6, 2014 11:33 am

    The decision should be on an individual basis taking into account the variety of medical and social instances in each case. A blanket policy is not the way forewords no matter what the families may think. Additionally if the person involved is capable of making the decision themselves it should not be overruled.

What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: