witnessing a DNR - page 3

by turnforthenurseRN

7,526 Views | 45 Comments

We had a patient who was actively dying. The MD spoke with the family and they were deciding whether or not to make this patient a DNR. I went into the patient's room with the primary RN to see the patient; their eyes were... Read More


  1. 6
    Huge HIPAA violation if this were to occur. No requirement from any regulatory agency to do this, either.

    How does the visitor feel who doesn't want to get involved? Does he feel that maybe his family member will not get the best care if he doesn't cooperate with the staff on this one? Spell this C-O-E-R-C-I-O-N.

    I can't believe this whole situation. Is this a homework thing for somebody in a non-healthcare major? I never heard of anything remotely resembling this "policy" in all my mumblemumble years of nursing. Ann Landers used to blame this sort of thing on Yalies.
    Altra, lrobinson5, noyesno, and 3 others like this.
  2. 1
    This sounds like someone misinterpreted a policy. This is just flat out crazy.
    sapphire18 likes this.
  3. 1
    I agree with everyone else... this is nuts. I've never seen a DNR require two strangers to witness. When I worked in the hospital, we had many patients who were made DNR or who came in DNR and needed their orders renewed. The Attending Physician wrote the order and it was verified by the nurse- as in signed off like you would any other order. The only thing with a DNR was that it needed to be written by the Attending. And it is most definitely a huge HIPAA violation to disclose to a visitor that Mr. Jones in room 1A is now a DNR.
    sapphire18 likes this.
  4. 3
    The other thing--be 100% sure of this policy. Don't take the word of a coworker. Heck, don't even take the word of the NM. See it in writing. If you are the middle of a HIPAA violation while you a trying to comply with a policy that does not exist, this can mean big trouble.
  5. 0
    I've never heard of such. I think I would much rather code a patient then follow such a policy. It makes no sense having a random person sign a document about code status of someone they do not know.
  6. 0
    something is fishy about this story...Don't know if its the policy, or the details, or the "story" in general...
    Last edit by smurfynursey on Dec 13, '12
  7. 0
    The story is told exactly as it happened. No details were omitted, as much as some would like to think, it seems :/

    Thanks for everyone's input.
  8. 3
    I think it is asking an awful lot to ask a visitor to help decide if someone else should live or die.
    That might why the person you asked was "dilly-dallying". I think they really did not want to do it, but was afraid to say No because of possible repercussions to their loved one. That is why I said I thought you were twisting their arms.
    You and I both know they were just witnessing the decision, but those not familiar with DNRs might feel different.

    No matter what, this is a policy that needs to be updated!
    sapphire18, loriangel14, and AnonRNC like this.
  9. 0
    I agree with the others about HIPAA. I don't see how it is acceptable for the policy to demand people to witness that really have no business dealing with patient information.
  10. 1
    Where I have worked, only two rn's have signed. I suspect this story.
    Altra likes this.


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