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What Are ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Orders?

For some specific types of medical conditions, there may be life-saving measures necessary if a person’s heart stops beating or they cease breathing. Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders tell doctors or medical professionals not to perform CPR or other life-saving measures on a person in this situation. 

DNR requests can come from several different sources: 

  • Patients. Adult patients of sound mind and body can issue DNR requests themselves. In many cases, these requests may be a stipulation in living wills or advance directives and outline circumstances in which they would or would not want to be resuscitated.
  • Families. If a patient has designated health care power of attorney to a trusted family member, that person may have to determine whether or not the family member will be resuscitated if there are no DNR instructions available in that family member’s advance directives. This person is generally someone who is familiar with the person’s wishes and has been entrusted to follow through on any medical decisions that must be made when that person’s life is on the line.
  • Physicians. If there is no medical benefit to attempting to resuscitate a patient, then physicians themselves can also issue DNR orders. However, physicians must discuss these potential orders with the patient or the family of the patient when possible. Some hospitals may require at least two doctors to agree on a DNR decision when a patient is unable to consent to the request due to incapacitation. 

If you include a DNR order in your advance directives, you should be sure to review these orders regularly and make any revisions as you see fit. 

To learn more about this important issue and to help ensure you clearly outline your wishes, speak with a Florida estate planning attorney at the Charles Law Offices.

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