Do not resuscitate orders
Do not resuscitate orders are advance clinical decisions, made on an individual basis, not to attempt CPR on patients. Such an order would be appropriate if it is undesirable to prolong the process of dying. If an advanced directive has been made, it should be taken into account. As a doctor should perform treatment, including resuscitation, on a patient only if it is necessary and in the patient’s best interest to do so, it would be appropriate for the doctor to decide not to attempt CPR if to do so is not in the patient’s best interest.
The doctor should consider the likely outcome and expected benefit of resuscitation. If an order is made, it should be clearly documented and communicated to all relevant staff. The order should also be reviewed at regular intervals.
For more information on a range of medicolegal topics, read the Clinical Risk Management Handbook.
Dr David Kan is a Partner at Howse Williams Bowers, Hong Kong