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Article |

Must Consent Always Be Obtained for a Do-Not-Resuscitate Order?

Rita T. Layson, MD, MA; Terrance McConnell, PhD
Arch Intern Med. 1996;156(22):2617-2620. doi:10.1001/archinte.1996.00440210149015.
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Using cardiopulmonary resuscitation for cardiac or respiratory arrest unless there is an explicit do-not-resuscitate order is a policy adopted by all hospitals. Such a policy usually requires the patient's (or surrogate's) consent for a do-not-resuscitate order to be instituted. This article, however, presents the argument that consent need not always be obtained. In the case discussed, the well-being of the patient, other patients, and the health care providers all support a unilateral decision by the physician not to attempt resuscitation at the time of death. The medical community and society need to acknowledge that such cases exist and to develop policies that respect not only the interests of patients but also those of health care providers and society. Arch Intern Med.



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