Smart Quiz! Physicians Must Try To Revive You Unless You Have…
Answer: A DNR Form
A do-not-resuscitate order, or DNR, is an order written by a medical doctor. The form instructs healthcare providers not to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to bring you back to life.
A DNR is written only after the doctor has spoken with the patient about what this entails. It only prevents CPR, not other forms of medical care. In a medical emergency, your heart may stop blood flow or you may stop breathing. CPR includes mouth-to-mouth and chest compressions, electric shock to restart the heart, breathing tubes to open airways, and medications.
If you are too ill to communicate with your doctor about signing a DNR form, someone you have named as a healthcare representative or legal guardian can agree to a DNR for you. If you have not named anyone to represent your interests, and you are not capable of making medical decisions, medical personnel are required to try to resuscitate you should you require CPR.
According to a Vox interview with Shoshana Ungerleider, MD, “75 percent of Americans would prefer to die at home. Only 20 percent actually do. We also know that 80 to 90 percent of physicians would not want CPR or mechanical ventilation at the end of life. Doctors actively choose to forgo the suffering that takes place in our ICUs, because we’ve seen it and we know better.”
The focus of a DNR is to treat symptoms of pain, to maintain your comfort at the end of life and not prolong your life by resuscitation. Once you make the decision to have a DNR, no one can reverse the decision but you.