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Does a DNR order do enough?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Some people do not want life-saving medical care in certain situations. They would not like to be resuscitated if they stop breathing, for example, or if their heart stops beating. There are many reasons why people choose this, from personal religious reasons to concerns about being a financial burden for family members.

To set this up, these individuals may use a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order. If the person has this on file and ends up in the hospital during an emergency, they may not be able to communicate with those medical professionals. But the DNR order tells the medical team what types of services they should not provide.

Is there a better way?

The problem with doing this is that it may not go far enough. The DNR order is very specific. You make it in advance so that you can avoid CPR and related treatment options. But you can’t take into account all of the details while you make that order.

For instance, if your odds of recovery are low, you may not want to be resuscitated. But if the doctors believe you will live a happy and fulfilling life, then you may want them to use those life-saving measures. You can’t know what the situation will be like in advance, so a DNR order is a risk.

Thankfully, there are other ways to address this. You can create an advance directive that provides more specific medical instructions. You can also use a medical power of attorney, which authorizes someone else to make medical decisions for you when they’re needed. This person is known as your agent.

It is important to set these documents up in advance, so be sure you know what legal steps you’ll need to take.