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DNR – A Life Choice


The California EMS Authority along with the California Medical Association and EMS providers in California developed a PreHospital Do Not Resuscitate DNR Form to instruct EMS to not provide resuscitative measure for patients having a heart attack. This would include CPR, assisted breathing, intubation, defibrillation and drugs to stimulate the heart. It does NOT include treatment for pain, difficulty breathing such as an obstructed airway or asthma treatment, or major bleeding, etc. The form must be signed by the patient or their healthcare decision-maker and be CLEARLY posted or maintained with the patient. California EMS does recognize and honor Medallions or bracelets worn by the patient, however, there are only three Approved Medallion Providers for California: Sticky J Medical ID, based in Florida; MedicAlert Foundation, based out of Salida, CA; and Caring Advocates, based out of Encinitas, CA.

For patients with a terminal condition there is a separate form that is recognized by the Emergency Medical Service Authority called a Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment or POLST. This gives the patient direct specification ability for the types of treatment the patient would wish to receive at the end of life.

Although living wills and durable power of attorney for health care are usually respected by EMS, you must consult an attorney or the EMS agency in your county to be sure and in most cases must remember that EMS are for emergent services—they do not have time to read through a lengthy document nor are they legally trained so that option shouldn’t be relied upon. Every state has their own DNR policy, so it is important to check with your location when going on vacation or a trip if those are your wishes and you want them to be honored out of your state of residence. Both of these forms can be found on CA.gov under the California Emergency Medical Services Authority.

Learn more about End of Life and Incompetency Planning from our last blog. If you have questions or would like to learn more, we are here to help—contact us today to set up an appointment.

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Friday, 22 January 2021

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