DNR: Whose Right to Choose?
Do not resuscitate (DNR) is an order written by a doctor or written in an Advance Directive initiated by a patient. The self-determination act of 1990 established the right of a patient to in certain situations where they may be unable to make crucial medical decisions because of incapacitation(Geppert, 2010). Orders given by the patient instruct medical personnel not to perform life saving measures such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation. A DNR order may also be specific to a medical facility depending on state law a patient may be able to choose what type of DNR order they would like to have. Many patients have these orders decided well before the need for them, due to the fact that the patient must be of sound mind to make these decisions. ("Comfort care," 1995-2013)
The reasoning behind this act is due to the many medical advances made in life saving treatments. With new cardiopulmonary techniques a person may continue to have their heart and lungs kept functioning independently from other body functions or conditions. DNR orders now allow a patient to make conscientious decision about what they would want done in regards to life saving measures. Various life saving measures may prolong the inevitable but not improve the patients’ health status or achieve their same quality of life as they had before. ("DNR," “n.d”)
Many people do not like to talk about these issues or feel they are too young to worry about things such as Advance Directives. These orders should be set up and made clear by patients before they are terminally ill or faced with emergency situations where they would be incapable of making these decisions on their own. Under circumstances where patients do not have a DNR order in place the responsibility goes to their next of kin (no matter what their relationship standing is). In some situations the family may not always have the patient’s best interest in mind, at what point should someone be able to step in for the patients. Courts are generally not needed for DNR orders but under what circumstance may they intervene? In case In re Guardianship of Mason 41 Mass. App.CT.298(1996), the court intervened when determination for a DNR order was appropriate. The son of a patient was objecting to a DNR order that was given by temporary guardian of the patient. The son’s health care proxies were in question and his objection for the patient to be a “full code” over a “no code” was denied. ("Legal guide," )
In a recent situation there is a 70 year old women who has suffered an anoxic event. This has left the patient with little brain stem function, patient has flailing body movements from time to time but is not responsive to her environment. She is confined to a hospital bed and is constantly sedated due to risk of harming herself by pulling on her equipment used to keep her alive. Except for the involuntary thrashing from time to time the patient will remain in a vegetative...