Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Orders

About DNRs

DNR stands for “do not resuscitate,” a medical order that a doctor writes to make clear an individual’s request not to be resuscitated if their heart stops or breathing stops. The order instructs health care providers not to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) which can include mouth-to-mouth breathing and pressing on the chest, electric shock to restart the heart, breathing tubes to open the airway or medicines intended to restart breathing or the heart. This medical order is made while the individual is mentally capable and conscious, or by that individual’s healthcare surrogate if he or she is not.

A person may not be able to state their wishes about CPR in the case of illness or injury. In this case, if the doctor has already written a DNR order at their request, the family may not override it. If they have named a healthcare surrogate – someone to speak for them – this person or a legal guardian can agree to a DNR order for them.
If you would like to put a DNR order in place, talk with your doctor and healthcare team. Include your healthcare surrogate and family in the discussion. If you have a DNR order in place, you always have the right to change your mind and request CPR.
A person may not be able to state their wishes about CPR in the case of illness or injury. Having a DNR in place makes those wishes clear in case you are incapacitated.