Do Not Resuscitate (DNR): An Overview

Medical choices and decisions can be incredibly difficult, not least when you are
having to make them on the spot, which decisions may have far-reaching
consequences for individual concerned and their families. It is important to have the support of professionals to assist you to make informed decisions.

One of the most important decisions relates to the provision of life sustaining
treatment and you decision to refuse same. Colloquially know as a the Do Not
Resuscitate (DNR). Our aim is to provide you with a clear understanding of DNR, its implications, and the legal considerations surrounding it.

What is a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order?

A Do Not Resuscitate order refers to an individuals decision/choice directing medical or healthcare professionals not to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event their heart stops or they stop breathing. Most commonly this decision to refuse treatment would be incorporated in an Advanced Healthcare Directive (AHD).

Key Considerations When Opting for a DNR

  • Informed Decision: It’s essential to have a thorough understanding of what a DNR entails and its implications before making a decision. How broad or narrow do you wish the application of the DNR to operate, i.e. only in very specific predetermined circumsatances
  • Legal Framework: Different jurisdictions may have specific requirements and protocols for establishing a DNR.
  • Communication: It’s crucial to communicate your choices regarding a DNR to family members, caregivers, and healthcare providers.

Steps in Establishing a DNR

  • Medical Consultation: Engage in a detailed discussion with your healthcare provider to understand the implications and scenarios where a DNR would be relevant.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Consult with a solicitor to ensure the DNR complies with legal standards and requirements in your jurisdiction.
  • Documentation: Once the decision is made, ensure it’s documented in writing, signed and witnessed by two witnessed.
  • Notify Relevant Parties: Share your AHD which may include the DNR instructions with family, caregivers, and any healthcare institutions you’re associated with.

Why is a DNR Important?

  •  Upholding Patient Autonomy: A DNR ensures that a patient’s wishes regarding end-of-life care are respected and followed.
  • Clarity for Medical Teams: In critical situations, a DNR provides clear guidance to medical professionals, ensuring they act in line with the patient’s desires.
  • Peace of Mind: For many, having a DNR in place relieves the pressure and responsibility of having to make difficult decisions from surviving family members.

How Peter O’Connor & Son Solicitors Can Assist

Our team offers expert guidance on all matters related to Do Not Resuscitate orders.
We provide:

  • Assistance in understanding the legal implications and requirements of a DNR.
  • Support in documenting the DNR and ensuring it’s clear and compliant.
  • Guidance on communicating the DNR decision to relevant parties.


The decision to have a Do Not Resuscitate order is deeply personal and carries
significant weight. At Peter O’Connor & Son Solicitors, we are dedicated to guiding our clients through the intricacies of DNR orders, ensuring clarity, legal compliance, and respect for their wishes. Whether you’re considering creating a DNR or seeking advice on its implications, our team is here to provide expert guidance.

Note: This content is designed to offer a general overview of Do Not Resuscitate
orders. We encourage you to consult directly with our expert team for specific legal advice tailored to your own personal circumstances.