What Is A Do-Not-Resuscitate (Dnr) Order?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) refers to the medical procedures used to restart a person's heart and breathing when the person suffers heart failure. CPR may involve simple efforts such as mouth­to­mouth resuscitation and external chest compression. Advanced CPR may involve electric shock, insertion of a tube to open the patient's airway, injection of medication into the heart and, in extreme cases, open chest heart massage. A do­not­resuscitate (DNR) order tells medical professionals not to perform CPR. This means that doctors, nurses, and emergency medical personnel will not attempt emergency CPR if the patient's breathing or heartbeat stops. A DNR order is only a decision about CPR and does not relate to any other treatment.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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