A common misconception is that a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) and a Living Will are the same document. While both documents provide instructions to medical providers when you are unable to communicate your wishes regarding medical treatment, each document plays a different role in the administration of medical treatment to you.
A Living Will is a written legal document prepared by you, with the assistance of your estate planning lawyer, stating your wishes regarding life-prolonging medical treatments. If you have a terminal condition, end-stage condition, or are in a persistent vegetative state, your Living Will specifies what life-prolonging medical treatment(s), if any, you wish to receive. A Living Will addresses whether you want medical treatments to prolong your life, such as a feeding tube, surgery, blood transfusions, and pain medicine.
A Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) is a medical order written by your doctor, instructing health care providers not to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if your heart stops beating or you stop breathing. The DNR is only a decision to withhold CPR and does not affect the administration of other medical treatments such as a feeding tube, surgery, blood transfusions, and pain medicine.
Not understanding the difference between a Living Will and a Do Not Resuscitate Order may inadvertently result in the administration of unwanted medical treatments or the withholding of desired medical treatments. It is recommended that you discuss the Living Will with your estate planning lawyer and the Do Not Resuscitate Order with your physician to effectively plan for your medical treatments.
For help or answers, you can contact BaskinFleece at 727.572.4545.
This blog is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Because the law is continually changing, some provisions in this blog may be out of date. It is always best to consult an attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities in your particular case.