A retiree says doctors signed a “do not resuscitate” order without his permission and against his religious beliefs, making him fearful of dying alone in the hospital.
Pat Burke, 82, had visited the QEQM hospital in Margate, Kent, for a routine check on her pacemaker when she had a seizure in the waiting room.
Doctors and nurses came to the aid of the former mayor and took him to a room to be monitored by doctors.
But when his wife of 60 years, Betty Burke, visited her the next day, she discovered that the doctors had signed a DNR form.
A DNR is a medical document that directs healthcare providers not to perform CPR if a patient has stopped breathing or their heart has stopped beating.
Pat thought he was going to die alone in the hospital and says the doctors did not speak to him or his wife before signing the document.
He said the couple would never have agreed to sign the form because they consider them a “form of suicide” and go against their religious beliefs.
Pat, from Deal, Kent, said: “I consider a DNR a form of suicide and I don’t think you should do it.
“It may not be right, I can’t run anymore, I can’t box anymore, but I want to be here.
“I still have a life, I can still laugh, there’s no reason I should be dead. But I had no choice.
“If there’s any chance of staying alive, I think you should take it because I don’t think it’s fair to your family or anyone else.”
Pat suffers from seizures as a result of blood clots in the brain from past sports injuries, resulting in short-term memory loss.
The DNR document says the decision was discussed with the couple during the December 21 visit, but Pat and Betty deny this.
Pat, a former Mayor and Sheriff of Canterbury, added: “I just couldn’t figure out how this happened.
“What worries me is that I have been to that hospital many times since 1997. Now I will not return.
“You must not take your own life and you must not allow anyone else to take their own life.
“I am alive because there are some tremendous doctors who have kept me alive and kept my heart beating.
“I’m not going to let anyone stop that and why should I?
“If you went out and killed someone, you would be convicted of murder.
“There are many things in life and they don’t end because someone decided you have to die, that’s not how it works.”
Betty, 81, added: “When I saw Pat, she said, ‘I’m going to die.’
“He said the doctor told me I need a DNR, but we’ve always said we don’t believe in them; he made this form while I was not there.
“When Pat has a seizure, it takes her two or three days to recover.
“On the form it says ‘does the patient have the ability to talk about CPR?’ They circled yes, but he didn’t, because he wouldn’t have understood.
“It says on the form that it was discussed with me and that you agreed, but you didn’t.”
Sarah Shingler, director of nursing and midwifery at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, which runs QEQM, said: “We are very sorry for the concern caused to Mr Burke and his family and will be in contact with him to discuss his care.”