A DNR Order or a “Do Not Resuscitate” Order can be issued for a person who doesn’t want to have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or other forms of medical intervention in the event that his heart stops or he stops breathing.
There are two standard DNR orders, DNR Comfort Care and DNR Comfort Care-Arrest.
Under a DNR Comfort Care, a person receives care to ease pain and suffering but no resuscitation to save or prolong life. The standard DNR Protocal calls for medical personnel to: suction airways, administer oxygen, position for comfort, splint or immobilize, control bleeding, provide pain medication, provide emotional support, contact health care providers such as hospice, home health, etc. The standard DNR Protocal calls for medical personnel not to: administer chest compression, insert artificial air ways, administer resuscitative drugs, defibrillate or cardiovert, provide respiratory assistance, initiate resuscitative IV, initiate cardiac monitoring.
Under a DNR Comfort Care- Arrest, a person receives standard medical care until a cardiac or respiratory arrest. Once the cardiac or respiratory arrest, the DNR Comfort Care protocol listed above goes into effect.
There are two ways for the DNR Comfort Care to become active. One, a person must have the Order issued by a physician or a certified nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist. Two, a person must execute a living will requesting no CPR and be certified by two physicians as being terminal and/or in a permanently unconscious state.
A DNR order can be revoked at any time.
A family member or loved one can consent to a DNR order if doctors determined that the patient is unable to make medical decision for himself and he has not appointed another person under a health care power of attorney to decide for him. In those circumstances, a DNR order can be issued only if the patient is terminally ill, permanently unconscious, CPR will not work, and CPR would impose an extraordinary burden on the patient given his medical condition and the expected outcome. The family member or loved one must base the decision on the patient’s wishes or if not known, his best interests.
It is obviously preferable for you and your family members that your wishes are known in advance of a medical emergency or your incompetence. Hence, a health care power of attorney, living will and DNR Order should be explored while you are competent and able to make health care decisions for yourself.