Protecting Estates.
Protecting Legacies.

A look at do not resuscitate orders

When it comes to estate planning, a number of critical forms make sure professionals carry out your wishes at different stages. These forms include beneficiary designations, wills, trusts, advanced directives and others.

A do not resuscitate order lets medical personnel know you decline extraordinary means to keep you alive during certain medical emergencies.

The power of the DNR form

Information from Medline Plus describes a DNR order as a legally binding order signed by a physician at the request of the patient.  It allows a person to make the decision to leave the world under conditions deemed acceptable to that person, and it could diminish uncertainty, unnecessary pain and exorbitant medical bills, among other advantages.

The forms of resuscitation pose risks to many patients, especially those who are elderly, frail or have numerous medical conditions. Several medical procedures fail under the category of resuscitation efforts:

  • Chest compressions
  • Intubation
  • IV medications
  • Electric shock

Many of these procedures can have side effects. For example, chest compressions often leave the patient with damaged ribs and punctured lungs. This makes breathing difficult and painful.

The reality of a DNR order

For a DNR order to work properly in California, you must fill out the form completely, have a physician sign it and make sure medical professionals know the form exists. The latter step involves keeping the order on hand or wearing medical jewelry to alert others of your wishes.

While a DNR order typically covers chest compressions, it does not address all treatment issues.  The use of pain medications and other treatment options likely will continue. If possible, you should discuss the completion of the DNR paperwork well ahead of any medical emergency.

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