Who decides whether you live or die?

You may or may not have heard of something called a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order, but it is something which can become a matter of life or death should you go into hospital.

A DNR against your name on the NHS system will mean that there should be no attempt to resuscitate you if there would be no benefit to you, the benefit is offset by the burdens it creates, or it will not work.

You would be forgiven for assuming, and indeed UK Medical Professional Guidance states, that a DNR order should only be put in place if you have requested it, your health is such that resuscitation would be futile, you have given advance notice in a Living Will or your quality of life will be poor as a result of resuscitation.

However, we are seeing more and more instances of our elderly clients being taken to hospital after a fall or because of illness, and in one recent case slipping and twisting their knee, only to find that a DNR was put in place without their or their family’s knowledge or approval.

Due to these shocking instances, we are recommending all of our clients who are concerned about finding themselves in a situation where someone other than themselves, their family or their trusted friend/s make the decision whether or not they should be resuscitated, enter into a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney. This enables a person to specifically state whom they want to be consulted when such a decision has to be made. Of course, there has to be input from medical practitioners, but you will have chosen, in advance, whom you trust to make the right decision for you.

If you wish to find out more or enter into a Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact a member of our Private Client Team who are all experienced in these matters and will be very happy to discuss further with you.

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