What happens when paramedics or EMTs respond to a person with a DNR order?
If the person’s heart or breathing has stopped, there is a valid DNR order and the patient does not want treatment, paramedics and EMTs will not try to restart the heart or breathing.
The types of treatments that a patient with a DNR order would not receive include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing, or CPR), electric shocks to the heart, assisted breathing with mechanical devices, or the use of medications intended to start the heart again. (A person would not be placed on life support, such as a ventilator or a breathing machine).
A DNR order only applies when the heart or breathing has stopped. It does not affect care before the heart has stopped, for pain, shortness of breath or other symptoms.
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