Making Sure Your Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order Is Honored

My dad died on August 31, 2015, after a long bout with C.O.P.D. and a recurrence of lung cancer. Because his lungs were so weakened from the C.O.P.D., the lung cancer could not be treated. Surgery was not an option, and radiation and chemotherapy could not be tolerated. The family gathered to spend time with dad prior to his death, and he began to make sure things were in order.

He and his doctor decided to execute a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. A DNR order is a physician-issued order that instructs medical personnel that the patient does not wish to be resuscitated in the event of respiratory or cardiac arrest. The resuscitation efforts could be cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) using mouth-to-mouth or machine breathing, chest compression to restore the work of the heart and lungs, intubation (insertion of tube to clear airways), and use of electrical shock to change the heart rhythm.

Dad knew that he had a limited amount of time remaining, and wanted to die naturally without fear of being revived only to suffer additional pain or lack of quality of life. Unfortunately, that is not what happened at the end. He collapsed after returning home one evening from dinner and essentially died in my step-mother’s arms. However, a call was made to 9-1-1 and the emergency personnel were not presented with the DNR, so CPR was initiated and he was taken to the hospital where he died several hours later.

This caused me to begin my research and understanding of DNR orders and how to keep this from happening with other family members who might make this decision in their lives. Here are some important plans that you can put into place if you do not wish to be resuscitated.

1. Florida DNR Form. It is important for residents of Florida to make sure they have executed DH FORM 1896. To read the law associated with this order, click: To obtain this form, use this link: This form must be:
a. Printed on YELLOW Paper
b. Signed by the Patient and the Patient’s Physician
2. Medical Records. Your Physician should enter your DNR wishes in your medical records and medical charts should you be hospitalized.
3. Post the DNR. Emergency personnel are trained to look on the back of your front door or on your refrigerator for DNR orders, medications and other critical information.
4. Card or Bracelet. The DNR form also includes a wallet sized card that can be laminated and worn around the neck or inserted into a DNR bracelet that can be worn at all times.
5. Talk to the Family. Make sure they understand your wishes and are willing to act on them.

Having a DNR does not affect any other medical treatments or medications that a patient might be receiving such as chemotherapy, antibiotics, dialysis, or medications for comfort and pain management.

Reba Rogers, CPA, is the founder of Secure Aging, a group of care managers who preserve the independence and protect the assets of seniors by helping them with financial management. She is also a Director Consultant for BNI (Business Network International), a referral marketing organization which gives her access to many trusted business professionals in the community.

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