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Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)

What is do not resuscitate?

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) is often referred to as “No Code”, this is known as a legal command that is written within the hospital or even on a legal document that respects a person’s wishes to not have CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) in the case the individual’s heart stops working, or in some situations where the individual were to stop breathing. Often the DNR request is often made by the patient or in some situations the individual’s health care power of attorney. However, even though an individual wishes to have a DNR placed on their record, the individual may still be able to receive chemotherapy, antibiotics, dialysis or any other type of treatments if they wish. DNR may often cause many questions as well as confusion, some questions regarding the Do Not Resuscitate form, Do Not Resuscitate order and the Do Not Resuscitate guidelines may be commonly asked questions. Read below where Experts have answered many questions regarding DNR.

When a DNR form is signed what type of affect does this make for their medical care and what does this form actually mean?

Do Not Resuscitate is known where an individual wishes to not have any extra form of treatment performed in the case the individual is unable to breath, their heart stops working or the individual undergoes cardiac or respiratory arrest. The individual who wishes to not to be resuscitated may make this decision with their doctor or loved ones. However, when an individual’s wishes to have the DNR order on their record this may not change any other medical treatments.

How can someone have a Do Not Resuscitate order? Is this order legal if an individual writes it out?

In the case an individual writes out an order, this is known as a living will. Living wills and other advance directives often explain an individual’s choice relating the treatment in the case the individual suffers from a serious accident or even an illness. Often, many individual’s believe that a life will or advance directives are only for elderly individuals, however that is not the case, unpredicted end of life situations may happen at any time, so it may often be important for all adults to have advance directives. These advance directives are often hand written orders that relate to their medical care choices. The individual’s family as well as the doctor may often discuss the advance directives, in the case the individual is unable to make their own health care decisions.

If someone filed a DNR form after the request would it cause a health care professional to violate their Hippocratic Oath to do no harm?

In some situations after a DNR has been made, this may not violate the Hippocratic Oath to do no hard, and may not even be known as “inaction” as for the health care professional. As for the Hippocratic Oath: “Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may be also within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.”

However, what this is supposed to mean it is not a health care professional’s job to decide when it is the right time to save a life, therefore it is the patients, and also it is the professional’s job to follow what the patient wants.

Do Not Resuscitate is a common form that many individual fill out while in the hospital or right before they enter a nursing home. Many individuals believe that when it is their time to go, they do not want to have any form of treatment nor CPR to keep them alive. DNR may be a very stressful form to fill out with friends and family. However, even though this is a common form, there are still many questions that go unanswered. For more information pertaining to DNR and its guidelines, individuals may contact an Expert.

Ask a Doctor

Dr. Thomas, MD
Dr. Thomas, MD, Board Certified Physician
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 47404
Experience:  Internal Medicine--practice all of internal medicine, all ages, family, also Integrative, CAM, etc
24257177
Type Your Medical Question Here...
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Doctors are online & ready to help you now

Dr. Thomas, MD
Board Certified Physician
Satisfied Customers: 46349
Internal Medicine--practice all of internal medicine, all ages, family, also Integrative, CAM, etc
Dr. D.J.
Board Certified Physician
Satisfied Customers: 14679
MD
Dr. Ketch
Board Certified Physician
Satisfied Customers: 76
Medical Degree, Former Assistant Professor at School of Medicine at Yale University

Recent DNR Questions

  • My mother lives in an assisted living facility with nurses

    My mother lives in an assisted living facility with nurses on duty. Can she get blood transfusions at the assisted living facility
  • My mother is 73 years old is 5 ft 10 and weighs 85 pounds.

    My mother is 73 years old is 5 ft 10 and weighs 85 pounds. She has copd and congestive heart failure and arthritis of the hip. Two weeks ago, the arthritis as made her bedridden and over a week ago she went into ICU with pneumonia. She is not coughing anything up and is completely bedridden. She also has had nothing to eat in 10 day sand the only thing she has to drink is water with her crushed up pain pills. The released her from the hospital 4 days ago saying there is nothing more they can do for her. She is now in a nursing home getting hospice care. We have her on a dnr. She has not talked in several days but nods her head if you ask her questions. We are the point of just trying to keep her comfortable but yesterday she started getting bedsores on her shoulders. She won't let the nurses touch her or move her. She has told everyone she is ready to die. Every time the phone rings I am on pins and needles. Is there anyway to know how long she will have to endure this? Thanks for any help that you can provide.
  • My father in law is in the final stages of dementia--not aware

    My father in law is in the final stages of dementia--not aware of surroundings, barely eating, not responsive to speech or touch, unable to communicate--and lives in a memory-care unit. In the past four hours he has had three massive bouts of diarrhea.

    His caregivers are urging us to take him to the ER (which requires medical transport). We think the ER is likely to say, "Observe him at home."

    Other than keeping him hydrated, what could the ER do at this point? (He is DNR, no nutrition.)
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