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By The Wyoming LLC Attorney Team

Jun 14, 2022

Do Not Resuscitate Order

Estate Planning


A DNR order is an advance directive that specifies a person's preference to forego cardiopulmonary resuscitation in case of cardiac or respiratory arrest. This article explains the significance of a DNR order, highlighting its role in instructing medical personnel not to initiate resuscitation procedures. It emphasizes the importance of advance directives, including medical power of attorney and living wills, for individuals of all ages.

A Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR), also known as a CPR directive, is an advance directive that requests cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) not be performed in the event that the individual stops breathing or their heart stops beating.

Without this order in place, medical staff and emergency responders will always attempt to help any patient in such a scenario. The DNR order, which must be signed by a doctor, informs medical personnel of your wishes not to be resuscitated. The DNR order is usually worn on the person as a bracelet to allow medical personnel and emergency responders to know not to start such procedures.

What Is an Advance Directive?

An advance directive is a written instruction that details an individual’s treatment preferences, typically for end-of-life care, such as prioritizing pain management over life-extending treatment. Advance directives can also detail your treatment in the case you are left in a permanent vegetative state, and allow you to nominate a healthcare agent whom you trust to make your medical decisions under circumstances which you are unable to.

Should I Have an Advance Directive?

While it’s not a pleasant subject to think about, taking the time to complete your advance directive while you still can is your opportunity to make your medical preferences known. Having an advance directive in place will lighten the burden on yourself and your loved ones.

Anyone over the age of 18 has the option of preparing advance directives. While an advance directive may typically be associated with something that older adults should have in place, there is good reason for young adults to have them prepared, as well.

For example, even kids heading off to college should have a medical power of attorney in place so that their family members are prepared in the event of an unforeseen accident. This would prevent the need to get a court order before making medical decisions for your child.

It’s always a smart idea to have your medical choices for certain scenarios dictated and made available.

Not only is this smart planning, but it’s also a considerate thing to do. The last thing you’d want is to place the heavy burden of such decisions on your loved ones. In certain unfortunate circumstances, these decisions could even involve going to court to obtain an order for treatment or care.

What Is a Medical Power of Attorney?

A medical power of attorney, also known as a health care power of attorney, is a legal document used by an individual to name and give authority to an agent if difficult medical decisions need to be made on their behalf.

Typically, the medical power of attorney becomes active if an individual becomes unconscious or is unable to make key decisions for himself. Additionally, a medical power of attorney is legally binding so long as the agent named in the document is present. The named agent is obligated to act in accordance with the wishes of the individual. If the agent is not present, then medical personnel will look to a living will and adhere to the language and wishes it contains.

What Is a Living Will?

Another advance directive you should be familiar with is a living will. A legal document dictates your personal choices concerning end-of-life medical treatments which might include decisions for how to handle life-sustaining treatments in the event an individual cannot speak for herself or if that individual is in a vegetative state.

Concluding Thoughts

In conclusion, understanding and implementing advance directives, such as a Do Not Resuscitate order, medical power of attorney, and living will, are important components of responsible estate planning for individuals of all ages. While you can buy these items online without an attorney, an established estate planning attorney can help you draft any of these documents with more peace of mind that your wishes will be upheld.