What Is a Do-Not-Resuscitate Order (DNR)?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) wrote in its "Religion and Ethics - Ethical Issues" section on Do-Not-Resuscitate orders, which was last updated on July 20, 2006:

"DNRs are Do Not Resuscitate orders. A DNR order on a patient's file means that a doctor is not required to resuscitate a patient if their heart stops and is designed to prevent unnecessary suffering.

The usual circumstances in which it is appropriate not to resuscitate are:

  • when it will not restart the heart or breathing
  • when there is no benefit to the patient
  • when the benefits are outweighed by the burdens
Although DNRs can be regarded as a form of passive euthanasia, they are not controversial unless they are abused, since they are intended to prevent patients suffering pointlessly from the bad effects that resuscitation can cause: broken ribs, other fractures, ruptured spleen, brain damage."

July 20, 2006 - BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) 

Focus on the Family explained in an Apr. 14, 2005 article by its Senior Policy Analyst in Bioethics, Carrie Gordon Earll, entitled "Making Medical Decisions for a Loved One: A Caregiver's Guide," that appears in the "Bioethics/Sanctity of Human Life: Quick Facts" section of its website:

"Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order: a patient or a health care agent may request a DNR order. It prevents cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should the patient stop breathing or suffer a cardiac arrest. Patients who are in compromised conditions may be less likely to recover after CPR. The intense physical nature of CPR can cause broken bones or collapsed lungs, especially among frail or elderly patients. DNR orders can vary in interpretation, so you should define the term with the health care facility before considering one for your loved one."

Apr. 14, 2005 - Focus on the Family 

The Death with Dignity National Center wrote in the "Glossary of Terms" section of its website (accessed Sep. 26, 2006):

"Do Not Recussitate [sic] means that in the event of cardiac arrest, no CPR or electric shock will be performed to re-start the heart... The patient can change a DNR...order at any time, and experts urge that such orders are reviewed regularly. In a DNR...situation, a patient is provided comfort care. Without such an order, emergency medical technicians are legally required to perform CPR."

Sep. 26, 2006 - Death with Dignity National Center (DDNC)