DNR orders and Catholic teaching
#1
Can a person sign a DNR order and still be in good standing with the Church? I think my biggest concern with this is I know of places where normal care was withheld because there was a DNR order. For those who don't know, a DNR order is a Do Not Resuscitate order. It's supposed to mean that a person who is not breathing will not be given CPR or mouth to mouth.

When I was working for an ambulance service, one of my co workers told me they were at a certain nursing home where a lady fell out of bed. The way she fell caused her to have difficulty breathing. The nurses aid did nothing. When the EMT's got there they asked the aid why she doesn't have her on oxygen. The aid said, "She has a DNR order." The EMT had to explain that a DNR order doesn't mean you don't give any help, it just means you don't resuscitate. This is what scares me with DNR orders.

But I was wondering what Catholic teaching is in general on these DNR orders.

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#2
I would not know. You would have to ask a Catholic ethicist. I believe we are always obliged to use ordinary means to save our lives.

This is the place I go to for all Catholic advice on life issues, medicine, and ethics:

The National Catholic Bioethics Center
http://www.ncbcenter.org/

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#3
Since Obamacare,my Advantage insurance has asked me to be screened every year at renewal. The questions are similar to the questionaire Tammy Duckworth got in trouble for over at the VA. They are designed to make it possible to extinguish your life if they judge they should. This year they added the DNR. My Doctor is very uncomfortable with this whole thing but the DNR doesn't bother him. It bothers me, as they can use it for a pre-emptive measure to get rid of me. I told him if and when I have a terminal disease and not some problems with my health, we'll talk about it then. He continued on and I interupted him. I told him about the USA Today report that a person that earned an average of 30k per year would be owed 870,000 with 4% accrued interest when he retired. I told him that put me at about 2 million owed and I intend to collect every dime. He laughed but said fat chance.I told him if they gave me it in cash, I'd pay the capital gains and disappear. poof !

I really do not trust Doctors any more, and the DNR can be a problem as you say. 
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#4
(03-14-2012, 03:17 PM)Petertherock Wrote: Can a person sign a DNR order and still be in good standing with the Church? I think my biggest concern with this is I know of places where normal care was withheld because there was a DNR order. For those who don't know, a DNR order is a Do Not Resuscitate order. It's supposed to mean that a person who is not breathing will not be given CPR or mouth to mouth.

When I was working for an ambulance service, one of my co workers told me they were at a certain nursing home where a lady fell out of bed. The way she fell caused her to have difficulty breathing. The nurses aid did nothing. When the EMT's got there they asked the aid why she doesn't have her on oxygen. The aid said, "She has a DNR order." The EMT had to explain that a DNR order doesn't mean you don't give any help, it just means you don't resuscitate. This is what scares me with DNR orders.

But I was wondering what Catholic teaching is in general on these DNR orders.

That's malpractice. Where was the nurse in all of this?

I have no problem with DNRs. There are always abuses, but I have never seen a DNR abused or treatment withheld or altered because of this. At least not in the hospital. I have had a different experience with a hospice nursing home.

Pete, if this is a real concern, have someone you trust be your medical POA. They can only make medical decisions when you can't. This way, you can get the treatment you deserve, (like keeping you on the machines till a priest arrives), and also they can let nature take it's course when appropriate.
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#5
I haven't read any Church teaching on DNRs specifically but for what it's worth I agree with verenaerin. They are not a nice thing to have to agree to. But in some circumstances it is much more charitable than subjecting a very frail and elderly loved one to traumatic, invasive, and ultimately futile medical intervention. I doubt if Church teaching demands that natural expiration should be prevented at all costs.
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#6
Just noticed there was an old thread on this: http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/inde...007.0.html
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