A reasoned argument for the demise of the “do not resuscitate” order

Posted On 2017-08-08 16:41:25

In a recent article, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Truog and Burns provided an important overview of the 40-year history of the do not resuscitate (DNR) order. Rarely in the history of medicine have three simple letters ‘DNR’ evoked such controversy. Indeed, this acronym has been the epicenter of numerous legal disputes, a source of great distrust in medicine, and been associated with eliciting great moral distress and strong emotions from not only health care professionals but patients and families alike (1).

To this end, I propose in this brief commentary, an argument based on five dominant categories to support my reasons to advocate for the demise of the term DNR from our medical vocabulary, and to replace it with a clearer and more precise term such as no cardiopulmonary resuscitation (No CPR). As controversial as this may seem, my intended goal is simply to recommend the demise of the “DNR” term, rather than its intended actions.