Do Not Resuscitate (DNR): How to Decide, Who Should Decide, and Why?
The fate of Socrates, ordered to drink the fatal cup of hemlock, had been decided. His future was in the hands of God, but the fate and future of so-called do not resuscitate (DNR) and no-code patients is an area of indecision and confusion in present-day medicine. With the advent of modern, life-sustaining techniques and life-support systems, resuscitation of patients suffering from cardiac and respiratory arrest became possible. However, with technology capable of sustaining cardiac and respiratory function, concern grew among physicians, other health professionals, attorneys, and the public. This concern arose over the application and viability of DNR-code orders. The existence of such orders in medical records raised concern for legal liability and most importantly, concern for the patient. An understanding of the various medical, legal, and ethical aspects of such orders, and definitive guidelines for medical policies in these situations are mandated. The fate and future of the patient, and life as we know it, cannot be guided by indecision and confusion.
KeywordsLife Support Brain Death Competent Patient Incompetent Patient Permanent Vegetative State
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