Do I have the right to refuse CPR?

  1. I do not have a terminal illness. However, I feel it is my right to refuse "CPR"
    despite the fact that I do not have a terminal illness. Can a lawyer help me fill out the necessary paperwork? Thanks
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   CIRQL8
    I see no reason why you should not be able to fill out advanced directives and refuse CPR no matter what, when, or any circumstance. I would kkep a copy of the papers on me at all times and wear a medical alert stating to the fact.


    Keep in mind, that even w/ advanced directives, present family can insist, and to err on the side of caution and avoid costly litigation, health care providers will always try to save (when in doubt...)

    BUT---
    why?? What if you go into arrest after chocking, and the obstruction is removed. You may be able to be resuscitated in time before any brain damage. Or V-Fib for whatever reason and there is a AED right there?? You can be converted and suffer no ill effects.

    In medicine there are too many unknowns and exceptions to make a blanket rule (sometimes). (see what I mean??) Best bet is to get a healthcare power of attorney and EDUCATE THEM. Be sure they will do what YOU would want.

    -Dave

    This is the edit:

    P.S. What about the Heimlich if you're chocking?? What about recue breathing, what if what if.. There are alot!!!
  4. by   VivaLasViejas
    I made myself a DNR after my first code years ago. I had to do CPR on an 89-year-old lady, and as we all know, properly performed compressions and 89-year-old ribs do not mix well. The patient survived the code only to be hooked up to a ventilator, strapped down and sedated for what turned out to be two weeks before she finally defied her family's wishes and passed away. I decided right then and there that NO WAY was I ever going to allow myself to be put through such indignities, and I put together my advanced directive with my family's and my doctor's blessings.

    Of course, do not resuscitate DOESN'T mean do not treat, and if I'm not actually dead and there's half a shot at some quality of life with treatment, by all means give it to me! But man, if I'm gone, let me STAY gone.......don't try to bring me back with shocks or fracture my ribs so I'm in pain or hook me up to some machine that requires me to be tied down so I can't pull out the tubes, or turn myself over in bed, or even clean up after myself. That's no life........it's not even an existence........and I'd rather be elsewhere, thank you.
  5. by   elkpark
    The answer to your question may vary from state to state ... A local attorney would be able to answer your questions and assist you with any paperwork.
  6. by   traumaRUs
    Gosh and here I'm thinking to myself - do whatever. Of course, like all of the above posters, I'm in good health! I would want to be a full code unless I had a terminal illness.
  7. by   Blackcat99
    Thanks everyone for your great insights. I watched my Dad suffer on a ventilator for almost a month. He did finally get weaned off of it. However, my Dad died anyway a month later. My worst nightmare fears would be waking up someday in ICU and having a ventilator,NG tube and colostomy in place.
  8. by   mshultz
    Blackcat99:

    My Ohio Living Will states that if I am in a Terminal Condition and unable to make my own health care decisions, or in a Permanently Unconscious State, I direct that my physician shall:
    1. Administer no life-sustaining treatment, including CPR and artificially or technologically supplied nutrition or hydration; and
    2. Withdraw such treatment, including CPR, if such treatment has started; and
    3. Issue a DNR Order; and
    4. Permit me to die naturally and take no action to postpone my death, providing me with only that care necessary to make me comfortable and to relieve my pain.

    I have sent copies of this document to my parents, my sister, my physician, my hospital, and filed it with the County Recorder. It does no good if they do not know your wishes.

    You would also need to fill out a Health Care Power of Attorney in order to address the issues that you bring up. I am not a lawyer, but unless you and the person designated as your health care agent both have specific religious objections, such as refusing blood transfusions, it seems to me unlikely that your agent would actually refuse ICU care, a ventilator, an NG tube, and a colostomy for you if you are not terminal or permanently unconscious. The pressure upon the agent to consent to these treatments would be enormous, especially if the ventilator and colostomy are expected to be temporary.

    I ended up in the ICU for 2.5 days last May, and had an NG tube for several hours (but no ventilator or colostomy). Not only did I make a full recovery, I actually thought the ICU was fairly peaceful, but then that's me.
  9. by   zenman
    I'm thinking about getting "DNR" with my signature under it tattoed on my chest. A respiratory therapist at work is thinking about getting "Do not press here" on his chest!
  10. by   VivaLasViejas
    I've actually seen that tattooed on the chest of one male nurse I work with.........and he is utterly serious, even though he is a mere youth of thirty-some years of age. He's an ICU nurse who used to work in the ER of a large city hospital, so he's seen pretty much everything that can happen to human beings........and like me, doesn't want any part of an existence dependent on a ventilator or a feeding tube. :stone
  11. by   stressednurse
    [B]I am gonna have DNR tattoed on my chest just to make it obvious.
  12. by   stressednurse
    To clarify the above post, too many years of seeing ICU, CCU, ER, telemetry, post op, med surg and now rehab and long term care to even want to be there. Please, it is my time to end life let me do this....dont do CPR.
  13. by   CougRN
    Yes you can.
  14. by   elkpark
    I mentioned the same thing (jokingly) in a conversation with an attorney in my state who specializes in healthcare issues -- having "DNR" tattooed across my chest :chuckle -- and she got v. serious and informed me that that would definitely not be sufficient (in my state) to keep me from getting coded. She then talked me through the specifics of the related law in my state.

    If you are serious about this, you need to get advice and assistance from an attorney in your state who is knowledgeable about the relevant state law.

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