Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Orders Lawyers
What Is a Do Not Resuscitate Order?
A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order is a written document directing health care providers to forgo resuscitative measures. If the person with a Do Not Resuscitate Order suffers a heart attack or stops breathing, it lets the medical personnel know not to try to revive them with CPR, defibrillators, or other life saving procedures. The DNR Order can be drafted by an attorney as part of a Living Will, or as a separate stand alone document.
What are the Requiremnets for a Do Not Resuscitate Order?
Requirements for DNRs vary by state, but in general a valid order must:
- Be signed by the individual or the individual's legally recognized surrogate health care decisionmaker
- Direct any health care providers to forgo resuscitative measures
- Contain other relevant information required as per the appropriate state's Probate Code
- Contain a physician's signature (only in certain states)
Why Draft a Do Not Resuscitate Order?
DNR Orders provide a clear indication of an individual's wishes and can give direction to family members struggling with legally and emotionally difficult choices. Once created, a DNR order is entered onto a patient's medical chart or other document that the individual caries with them at all times.
Changing a Do Not Resuscitate Order
If a person decides to revoke or change their do not resuscitate order, it can be altered at any time without a court order or doctor's permission by the individual.
How Do I Ensure a Do Not Resuscitate Order is Followed?
As with a Living Will, a DNR will likely be invoked only while you are incapacitated in some way. To ensure that the Order is followed, make copies and distribute them beforehand to all concerned:
- Your physician
- Family members
- A close friend
- The medical records department of a hospital you would likely use near your home
- The nursing home where you stay (if applicable)
In addition, put a card in your wallet stating that you have a DNR Order and the phone number of someone who has a copy. This will help identify your wishes and make sure they are followed.
Liability with Do Not Resuscitate Orders
Health care providers are required to follow DNR Orders. If they fail to comply with your DNR wishes, they may be liable to you for medical malpractice and breach of duty.
A health care provider honoring your DNR Order is immune from criminal prosecution, civil liability, professional disciplinary action, administrative sanction, or any other sanction for abiding by your wishes. The only requirement is that the health care provider must believe, in good faith, that their action was consistent with the law and that the health care provider had no knowledge that their decision would be inconsistent with the patient's directive.
Will I Need an Attorney to Draft a DNR Order?
A Do Not Resuscitate Order may be drafted without an attorney, but it may be wise to consult with an experienced lawyer who can explain what this order means and how it will affect you. An attorney may also be needed if you plan to incorporate your DNR Order into a Living Will or other legal document.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 05-26-2009 03:07 PM PDT