Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

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A Program of the ATS

Do-Not-Resuscitate Order (DNR)

A Do Not Resuscitate/Do Not Intubate (DNR/DNI) order is a written order from a doctor that resuscitation should not be attempted if a person suffers cardiac or respiratory arrest. Such an order is given based on a patient’s advance medical directive or on directions from a patient’s health-care proxy.

Any person who does not wish to undergo lifesaving treatment in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest can get a DNR order. However, a DNR is more commonly done when a person who has a fatal illness or injury wishes to have a more natural death without painful or invasive medical procedures. In any cases of doubt, emergency medical technicians, paramedics and other medical workers will perform as if a DNR order did not exist, as is required by law.

For the DNR to be valid, there may be rules such as the use of a special form and/or additional signatures of a doctor and/or witnesses, etc. The exact rules for obtaining and for emergency medical personnel accepting the validity of a DNR order vary widely according to the state. To be sure that a DNR request is honored, patients should make their wishes clearly known to their family, doctors, community hospitals, care homes, and any other caregivers or health care providers who may be present should a cardiac arrest occur.

DNR Example from Michigan Health:
DNR Example