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Can my family challenge a DNR order?

On Behalf of | May 30, 2023 | Estate Planning |

A DNR is a do-not-resuscitate order that protects a patient’s choice to decline any medication intervention for the preservation of life.

While a personal decision, the order is sometimes written in order to prevent prolonging a painful or vegetative condition that would ultimately lead to death. It is a serious advance directive, but you can choose to add this directive to your end-of-life planning.

Challenges to a DNR order

It is common for family members to disagree with an individual’s choice to die. It is possible for a family member to challenge a DNR order, but there is a difference between challenging the order and overriding or revoking the order. Any family member who believes the DNR is invalid could bring the legality of the order before the court. However, they cannot revoke it while standing around your hospital bed.

Ways to revoke a DNR

There are several ways to revoke a DNR. You have the ability to contact your attending physician and make it clear you wish to cancel and remove the order from your medical record. If your estate plan names a healthcare agent, this individual can make this decision on your behalf if you cannot make the request. If you chose a family member as your healthcare agent, this would give him or her the ability to override your DNR so long as you cannot communicate at the time of the decision.

Even if your family member disagrees with your DNR decision, there is an ethical obligation to comply with the form and your end-of-life wishes. Carefully discuss your wishes with whomever you name as your healthcare agent or medical power of attorney.

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