Woman, 94, 'given pacemaker despite death wish'

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Indy Lifestyle Online

An investigation is under way after a 94-year-old woman was fitted with a heart pacemaker despite previously saying she did not want to be resuscitated, it emerged today.

Since being fitted with the pacemaker, disabled Dorothy Freeman has said how much she wanted to die, her 62-year-old daughter, Cecily Young, said today.

Mrs Young, from Honiton, Devon, has made a complaint to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital in Exeter, which said it would carry out a full investigation.

"I think it is an important case. Her wishes were completely ignored," said Mrs Young.

Widow Mrs Freeman is partially sighted, deaf and is confined to a wheelchair at her care home in Honiton.

Mrs Young said her mother had told her GP she wanted no intervention or resuscitation, and gave similar instructions to her care home, although she signed no "living will" document.

Her mother survived a seizure in hospital, then a couple of weeks ago had another caused by a heart block, said Mrs Young.

"They resuscitated her, and telephoned me saying they wanted permission to fit a pacemaker," said Mrs Young, adding that the hospital had a letter from her setting out her mother's wishes.

"I told them my mother did not want it, but they said she had given consent anyway.

"I do not think personally she was capable of doing so," she said today, adding: "She now says she does not know whether it was a good thing."

Mrs Young said she had yet to receive a reply from the hospital following her letter of complaint.