Jonathan BartelsMarch 12th, 2021
Look at your particular situation. If you have a life limiting illness that supersedes you asking that question, such as cancer or Lou Gehrig's disease, or things that are irreversible or could be irreversible that may cause your heart to stop, I think the question I would have from my provider is,
"If you do CPR, will it cause me more harm rather than do me good?"
That's always a question I'd like to weigh out as a person thinking about the DNR process. If there's a DNR question like, "Do you want to live or do you want to die?", everyone is going to say I want to live. The more poignant question is, "How do I want to live? And if you do CPR for me, what will my future look like, based on the fact that I have a terminal illness?"
Often times as a palliative care liaison nurse talking with patients and their families, we'll discuss the fact that the terminal illness will not be erased if I bring your blood pressure, your heart rate, back or if I resuscitate you. Often the rest of your life will be seen or treated in an intensive care unit.
So, the most important thing is how do I want to die?
What do I want it to look like?
And in in those last moments, where do I want to be?
*A do-not-resuscitate order, or DNR order, is a medical order written by a doctor. It instructs health care providers not to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if a patient's breathing stops or if the patient's heart stops beating.