A Do Not Resuscitate order may seem like a grim subject, but for many it can be a great tool of control in later years. Should the worst happen, medical professionals will avoid saving your life at every cost, respect your wishes, and allow nature to take its course.

It might be scary, but it can provide a wealth of comfort to those who decide on it ahead of time.

Signing a DNR

It takes an able individual (or a principal’s designated health care agent) and two witnesses to enter into an oral agreement. Written agreements require two witnesses and may need a signature from a doctor that can attest to the principal’s well-being. This will often be double-checked every 90 days to make sure it is still the patient’s wish, but once signed it is valid until revoked.

What a DNR covers

No one likes the idea of suffering in their last moments. Thankfully, a DNR is rather explicit in what is and is not performed by medical staff. The New York health department answers a lot of questions, including what procedures a DNR covers:

  • In the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest, medical staff will provide NO chest compressions, defibrillation, endotracheal intubation, medications or ventilation
  • Medical staff must provide full treatment of pain, injuries and other medical conditions if it is NOT cardiac or respiratory arrest
  • Staff will often provide relief of choking, but provide no assistance to ventilation if breathing stops during

Once signed, individuals wear DNR bracelets so that EMS workers can quickly identify these wishes and perform as requested. A DNR is not a death sentence, it provides you the maximum control you may want in the end.