Family: Doctors failed our Christine

Colin Green at the inquest with a picture of Christine

Colin Green at the inquest with a picture of Christine

First published in News

DOCTORS felt performing resuscitation on a “dying” woman would cause her more harm than good, despite relative’s wishes.

Christine Shinwell, from Chelmsford, died in Broomfield Hospital at about 3am on December 4, 2009, at the age of 63, after suffering heart failure.

Her condition had deteriorated rapidly after being admitted to hospital on November 23 with a broken knee.

An inquest at County Hall in Chelmsford heard doctors treating Mrs Shinwell, who had long-standing medical issues, such as kidney disease, diabetes, agoraphobia and heart problems, chose not to perform CPR.

Giving evidence Dr Anser Qureshi, who was the on-call physician contacted by phone when Mrs Shinwell suffered a cardiac arrest, said CPR would have been “futile”.

He said: “The information given to me over the phone was the patient was critically ill.

“I strongly believe if we did attempt resuscitation, it would have done more harm to the patient.”

Relatives of Mrs Shinwell expressed their anger at CPR not being given.

In a statement handed out during the hearing, they said: “Christine’s notes state throughout that we wanted full resuscitation.

“However, a decision was made over the telephone, by a doctor who had never seen her, that she would not be resuscitated, against the direct wishes of her family and despite the absence of a signed Do Not Attempt Resuscitation document.

“We accept Christine had underlying medical issues. However, these were all managed and her condition was stable, as is clearly stated by her long-term consultants and GP.

“She lived a full and happy life and was a lively and vibrant person.”

Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray said during her verdict, at the end of the two-day inquest, Mrs Shinwell died of natural causes.

Reading out the narrative verdict, Mrs Beasley-Murray said: “The deceased had a long, complex medical history, including end-stage cardiac failure.

“She was admitted to Broomfield Hospital on November 23 with a knee fracture.

“On December 1, she suffered cardiac problems and, despite on-going treatment, she died at 3.10am on December 4 of natural causes.”

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