A woman died at a UK hospital after medical staff accessed the wrong patient’s records, leading to staff not administering CPR, an investigation has found

The tragic incident unfolded at the Royal Blackburn Hospital when a family witnessed the death of their mom – 73-year-old Pat Dawson – after staff allegedly misread a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) form, the Mirror reports.

Dawson – a resident of Rawtenstall, Lancashire – had been transported by ambulance to the hospital on September 19 last year.

Despite not being previously ill or hospitalized, Pat tragically passed away just over four hours after her arrival, prompting an investigation by the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, which operates the hospital.


The tragedy took place at Royal Blackburn Hospital. Credit: Google


According to Pat’s daughter-in-law, Paula Dawson, the hospital staff erroneously checked Pat’s records, mistakenly identifying her as a DNR patient and subsequently halting CPR efforts during a suspected stomach blockage emergency.

The investigation later found that the wrong patient’s records had been accessed.


An investigation found that staff read the wrong patient’s documents. Credit: Pool / Getty


Following Pat’s death, her son, John, remained by her side in the hospital room. Shockingly, on three separate occasions, hospital staff entered the room unaware that Pat had already passed away. Despite John’s presence, medical personnel continued their duties, displaying a lack of awareness regarding Pat’s tragic situation.

At one point, the family claims that a junior doctor asked if Pat had “always looked like that”, before John explained that she had already passed away.


The family says they don’t want a witch hunt. Credit: Pool / Getty


Paula and John, while grieving the loss, are not seeking to assign blame to individual hospital staff members. Rather than pursue a ‘witch hunt’, they have raised concerns about staffing levels in NHS hospitals, highlighting the chaotic environment of A&E departments where critical errors can occur, leading to devastating outcomes.

In response to the incident, a spokesperson for the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust expressed condolences to the Dawson family and acknowledged their willingness to address the family’s concerns.

However, the Trust refrained from making further comments until the conclusion of the impending inquest into Pat’s death, scheduled for April 15.

Our thoughts are with Pat’s loved ones at this time.

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