By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When is it legal to refuse life sustaining treatment?
When a 911 tape of a nursing home worker was released, people were horrified to hear the nurse telling the operator that she refused to give life sustaining treatment to the patient, who died. It was revealed that the patient had signed a Do Not Resuscitate order.
People want to know – what’s a DNR, and is it legal?
A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order is a type of legal form that indicates that a patient should not be offered CPR or other life sustaining measures. While state laws differ, in general, do not resuscitate orders made by competent adults about their own treatment are legal, based on the fact that people have the right to know the risks of treatment and, as a corollary to that, have the right to refuse treatment.
You likely have very strong feelings based on your personal moral and religious beliefs; to ensure that your wishes are followed, write down what treatment you want and don’t want to receive and let others know so that you can decide how you are treated when it matters most.