DNR on a suicide note?

  1. What is the common viewpoint for resuscitation/continuation of life sustaining measures if a patient arrives via ambulance after a suicide attempt and they have left a very detailed note about many things, one of which is instructions to family and medical providers not to sustain life?
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    About not.done.yet, MSN, RN Guide

    Joined: Feb '08; Posts: 5,412; Likes: 15,032


  3. by   kcochrane
    I would think that unless they can provide a molst or living will it can't be used. There would even be room to argue that the patient is not capable of making his own decisions because of their mental status. Sounds like a complicated issues.
  4. by   PixieRN1
    I work in Psych now; it can’t be used. As the previous poster said, the patient, by definition of their presenting condition, wouldn’t have the mental capacity to make that decision. If he was alive on arrival, he would be immediately TDO’d and that power would be taken from him.
  5. by   Been there,done that
    Certainly the person wanted to die. However, for the request for DNR to be legal, the request must be notarized.
  6. by   morte
    and who is going to swear that the patient wrote the note.
  7. by   dream'n
    Danger to self or others is among the common gold standards for determining competence.
  8. by   AceOfHearts<3
    We had a patient whose SO said they were DNR, but the patient was a suspected suicide attempt- they had to be a full code until their competency could be established by our psych team.
  9. by   KatieMI
    A DNR (and any other similar document) won't be seen as legally bonding unless it contain some defining words. One of mandatory phrases is: "I, such-and-such, being over X (state dependent) years old and in my right and clear mind...

    This is also the reason why advanced directives must be notarized to become active. Forms can be downloaded for free all right, but notarization/witnessing still must happen.

    I'd seen people bringing crumbled pieces of paper torn from school notebooks on which their parents supposedly wrote that they would wish to be allowed to die or kept alive indefinitely. It just didn't work like that.