Anytime you are in a hospital, nursing home, or other health care facility you can request a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order from your doctor. You can do this even if you have not completed a living will or a durable power of attorney for health care. Let’s examine a few facts about choosing DNR.
What It Means
Do not resuscitate means that if your heart stops or you stop breathing on your own the medical staff will not attempt to revive you with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), artificial breathing, chest compressions, or electrical heart shocks.
How to Arrange It
You have to request a DNR and your doctor must put it in writing. Most doctors will ask you about this when entering the hospital or health care facility.
What to Expect
Even if you refuse life-prolonging measures (do not resuscitate), the health care staff will do everything they can to get you well, except resorting to measures that prolong life.
Changing Your Mind
As long as you are mentally stable, you can change your request for DNR to do-everything-to-save-me by asking your doctor to remove the DNR order.
Written by Jeffrey B. Brown, MD, FACP
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