Do not resuscitate me

Diederick

Registered Member
#1
As a Dutch first aid medic for the Red Cross, I've once had a lovely shift on a meeting for Psychiatrists. Though a peculiar (and very diverse) audience, the people trying to sell stuff in their little stands were pretty much all the same highly motivated salesmen.

While doing a round hoping to find some victim who might need rescuing, I was stopped by a paper held in front of my face. Slightly off guard I was asked "What would you do? Reanimate (resuscitate) or not?" Being drilled to follow protocols, I said reanimate. The salesman was expressing feelings of hurt and shock, as if I personally attacked him with my answer.

It was a stand from the NVVE, an organization for a "voluntary life's end". I was quite interested and have dug into a little. I also opened up discussion about this do-not-resuscitate-me tag with other medical professionals (mostly first aid folks though). Basically, both as a first aid medic, a disaster relief medic and in a future profession as a nurse on the IC or ambulance, I am not to care for a person's wish to die.

This still hasn't settled inside myself. I am all for assisted suicide, IF that suicide is well considered and psychologists can agree it is for the better of the individual. But this badge can be ordered by anyone, anonymously. Even by me, a healthy young man. And though I would want to respect the wishes of any individual, I would have great trouble withholding myself from doing CPR would I find an otherwise perfectly healthy (young) person. Especially an otherwise perfectly healthy handsome young guy.

Fortunately, like I said, the protocol is simple: there is no suggestion of what to do when a medic comes across a badge demanding they are not to resuscitate the person. Even a relative with papers signed by the victim cannot move the protocol. Only in hospital wards and nursing homes can non-resuscitation protocols be applied. Ambulance workers as well as plain first aid medics, are solely focused on one thing: keeping people alive and healthy. Unless medics are made aware of a person's wish to not be resuscitated well in advance, they follow their protocols. Once started, they are not permitted to stop (unless exhausted, patients recovers or someone takes over (or patient brain-dead)).

The biggest argument is that people are afraid that a CPR attempt will be successful, 'successful' as in the patient is alive. But terribly disabled. People are afraid of, as we say here, ending up as a greenhouse plant. All one big non-argument as I see it: I'd rather try to keep on living, instead of giving up entirely when faced with the possibility of disability and death. You have to at least try, right?

I'm looking forward to other people's ideas on this matter. Maybe this is so outlandish it needs further elaboration (which I would like to be made aware of), maybe this is a settled matter in other countries as well. I'd like to know whether something like this exists in your country, and, again, what you think of it and of the way professional medics respect it (or not).

 

Tucker

Lion Rampant
#2
It's not a settled matter in this country, by any means. DNR tags, which to me seem intuitive, are rarely heard of and never seen. The idea that life is sacred, like any other powerful notion, can be taken to detrimental extremes.
 

Diederick

Registered Member
#3
The idea that life is sacred, like any other powerful notion, can be taken to detrimental extremes.
I'm not saying life is sacred, I just think it's a waste of society's effort when a person decides to not take the chance of continuing a fulfilling life when you stop breathing. Of course when all hope for a continuation of a fulfilling life (which really isn't all that subjective an observation) this is a different matter, like I said, I'm all for assisted suicide or just 'giving up' when there is little reason to continue a life of suffering or no hope.
 

icegoat63

Son of Liberty
V.I.P.
#4
Heres a scenario that I feel is very relevant;

Man gets bitten by a Rattlesnake and is having the obvious reaction to the venom. He is taken to the Emergency for care, the man is Mormon. After careful observation, the Doctor says that the venom is to intrusive and that he'll need a Plasma transfusion in order to save his life by protocol medical practice standards.

Because the Man is Mormon... by taking in foreign fluids, he will be damned to hell in his respective belief system. And thus, his present relative or guardian distinctly says "DO NOT USE FOREIGN FLUIDS"....

Do you do it and give the man the Fluids, thus saving his life but damning him to his hell? Or do you respect his beliefs and let the body do the work?


To me, if you distinctly have a badge that says you want something done or not done... then you damn well better follow that order. I trust that if I'm wearing an "Allergic to Penicillin" badge that I will not be given Penicillin. To me the same should apply for Resuscitation. If I do not wish to be Resuscitated... respect my wishes.
 

LifeinthePond

Mark ov teh Pond
#5
To me, if you distinctly have a badge that says you want something done or not done... then you damn well better follow that order. I trust that if I'm wearing an "Allergic to Penicillin" badge that I will not be given Penicillin. To me the same should apply for Resuscitation. If I do not wish to be Resuscitated... respect my wishes.
Agreed. Some people have things in place not entirely for selfish reasons, either. Like suicide (though that's a different argument)

I have a cousin who feints every now and then, y'know? Anyways, he told his work to not phone the ambulance should this ever occur. Well he feinted at work one day and sure enough they did. He was not very happy, as he was slapped with a $500 bill he really could not afford at that time in his life.

Anyways, what can you do? A boss sees a guy on the floor he has to follow protocol, he phones in someone because it could otherwise be serious. This may not entirely be related, but he knows how he is and how things get, his wish was simple: don't call an ambulance. If anything, dock his pay for the amount of time he was "out." Place him on a flat surface and check for a pulse. Was that asking too much? I guess so. Protocol trumps all.
 

Oooh_snap

Living on the 0th floor
V.I.P.
#6
As a health care worker, this is hard for me. Especially if it were a young individual. I believe in assisted suicide only for people who are terminal, and possibly chronic pain patients, so in my opinion this isn't something people should have access to unless they have a doctor's assistance and a DNR in their living will.

I would have a hard time keeping myself from hiding it under the person's shirt or what not and pretending I didn't see it. I suppose, ethically, I would have to follow orders, but it would feel so completely wrong.
 

Dabs

Registered Member
#7
It would be hard to stand by and NOT want to help someone who is apparently dying or in bad shape~
But, I can understand how some would want the do not resuscitate.........I too choose that route...if it's time to go, time to go!
I don't want medicines pumped into my body to help me breathe.....if I can't breathe on my own, then I am ready to die~
 

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
#8
Fortunately, like I said, the protocol is simple: there is no suggestion of what to do when a medic comes across a badge demanding they are not to resuscitate the person. Even a relative with papers signed by the victim cannot move the protocol. Only in hospital wards and nursing homes can non-resuscitation protocols be applied. Ambulance workers as well as plain first aid medics, are solely focused on one thing: keeping people alive and healthy. Unless medics are made aware of a person's wish to not be resuscitated well in advance, they follow their protocols. Once started, they are not permitted to stop (unless exhausted, patients recovers or someone takes over (or patient brain-dead)).
Looks like other people are not aware of this protocol so when you tried to reanimate, you were made to feel like you're doing the wrong thing.

I'm glad you have this rule because it would seem weird and in conflict of your purpose as first level life-savers to have to not do anything especially when you know any simple act like CPR would have made the difference.

On other matters...I'm not sure I'd get that badge myself if I could. Yes, I would want to be able to decide whether I'd get assisted suicide or not, but at that point in my life when I need to make that decision. I feel that any decision I make now is premature because I don't even know in what kind of situation I'd be in or what I would be feeling that time if something happens to me.