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Do you want CPR?

This is something to think about carefully and make sure your doctor, local hospital and family have a record of your wishes. When I ask Elders if they want to be resusitated if their heart stops or their breathing stops, a lot of times they tell me, "if I will have a good quality of life after resusitation." Sometimes they ask if this is "euthanasia," if they do not get CPR.

Although I am careful to respect Elder's personal wishes, I also want to make sure they understand CPR. It is not "euthanasia," because your heart or your breathing or both have all ready stopped. When you are not breathing or if your heart stops, it is really up to you if you consider this to be "peaceful, natural death."

For your consideration: We will most likely break a lot of ribs if we do CPR because we will be compressing your chest. It's possible that other fractures (spine?) may occur. You may suffer from a collapsed lung or a ruptured spleen because of the chest compressions. If CPR is not begun, and successful, within 6 minutes, you will probably suffer brain damage, which will most likely be permanent.

If you are not in good health, if you are older, or frail and cannot withstand the intense physical nature of CPR, you may be a good candidate for a DNR order.

D.N.R. stands for "Do NOT Resusitate." Keep in mind that these instructions must be made BEFORE an event. If you do not wishes in writing, with your provider's signature, emergency medical personnel will attempt CPR. They are not the judges of your quality of life before or after CPR. They are taught to save lives. Period. And if you do not have a clear DNR order where they can see it immediately, they will do CPR.

A lot of people keep their DNR orders posted on their refrigerator & emergency personnel know to look there.

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