How Do I Get a DNR Order in the District of Columbia?
A DNR order, short for "do not resuscitate order," alerts emergency personnel that you do not wish to receive cardiopulonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event of a medical emergency. It is a medical order that must be signed by a doctor.
DNR orders are used primarily by people who are already critically ill and feel strongly that they do not want life-prolonging treatment when close to death. If you do not have a DNR order, emergency medical personnel must use all available measures, no matter how invasive, to save your life.
Getting a DNR order in the hospital. When you are admitted to a hospital, your doctor can add a DNR order to your medical record. This may happen in a number of ways:
- You can request the DNR order yourself.
- If you are close to death and unable to communicate, and you have a living will or advance directive that makes your wishes clear, your doctor can put the DNR order in place.
- If you have appointed a health care agent and a DNR order is consistent with your known wishes, your agent can authorize the DNR order for you.
- If you have not made documents directing your health care, the person who is legally authorized to make health care decisions for you (usually your spouse or next closest relative) may be able to authorize a DNR order, if they believe it is what you would want.
Using a DNR form outside a hospital. If you are not hospitalized, you can complete a District of Columbia DNR form that alerts paramedics who respond to emergencies at home, in hospice facilities, or elsewhere. It's important that you also get a MedicAlert or other bracelet, anklet, or necklace to make your wishes immediately apparent. Keep in mind that, to be valid, your DNR form must be signed by a doctor or other approved medical professional.
For more information about DNR orders, talk to your doctor.