Norfolk

James Paget Hospital accused of 'playing God' over patient

Michael Richardson, 66, of Great Yarmouth, died in 2013 at James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston. Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Michael Richardson, 66, of Great Yarmouth, died in 2013 at James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

NHS staff "played God" by putting an unrequested do not resuscitate notice (DNR) on a great-grandfather who died in hospital, an inquest has heard.

Michael Richardson, 66, of Great Yarmouth, died in 2013 at James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

The former metal polisher and gardener had been ill with a lung condition but had been given more than a year to live.

An inquest into his death started earlier in Norwich.

His widow Janet, 65, has accused medics of playing God with his life after learning the DNR notice had been placed on him.

Giving evidence at an inquest in Norwich, Mrs Richardson said her husband tried to discharge himself the day before his death because he was concerned about the levels of oxygen he was being given.

Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption Janet Richardson told the inquest staff had numerous opportunities to discuss resuscitation but did not do so

"He said, 'I can't breathe, take me home - I can't stand it any more. They're trying to kill me'," she said.

"I wish I'd bundled him up and taken him home because at least if he was going to die, he was going to die with some dignity."

The inquest heard the family, which had recently moved to Norfolk from Deal, Kent, learned of the DNR notice when they returned to the hospital to pick up Mr Richardson's death certificate four days after he died.

Asked by assistant coroner David Osborne if she had given consent for this, Mrs Richardson said: "No, nothing at all."

She added: "I visited the hospital twice a day. There would have been loads of opportunities for staff to talk to me.

"If he had been asked about the DNR notice, he would have said no, I know that."

The inquest continues.

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