Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders in Surgery: Decreasing the Confusion

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Patients have the right to make decisions regarding their medical care, including the right to refuse treatment or to issue do-not-resuscitate orders as part of an advance directive. Health care providers must comply with the patient's wishes regarding care.

Automatic suspension or continuation of a do-not-resuscitate order for a patient undergoing surgery cannot be justified. Surgical team members should consult with the patient and, if necessary, with an ethics expert or committee to determine whether the do-not-resuscitate order is to be maintained or completely or partially suspended during anesthesia and surgery. All surgical departments should have a written policy and procedure concerning the treatment of patients with do-not-resuscitate orders. AORN J 89 (January 2009) 140–146. © AORN, Inc, 2009.

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