Paperwork before dying honours wishes, saves trouble
Sudbury family learns the hard way about the importance of Do Not Resuscitate forms
A Sudbury doctor and his patient want more people in the community to know about a piece of medical paperwork that’s legally required so paramedics know whether or not to revive patients when their hearts stop beating.
Sudbury resident Pete Dopson and his family learned about the Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form when his 94-year-old father passed away in his sleep.
"We called 9-1-1 and they asked, in passing, if we had a DNR form, and we had what we felt was a DNR form, but it was a living will," he said.
Dopson noted the living will did contain his father's wishes not to be resuscitated — but because there was no DNR form, confusion ensued when the paramedic arrived. The police were called in.
"My mother, 91, was justifiably unhappy, nervous, agitated, and so were my brother and I," Dopson said.
"We're all old people who were learning a valuable lesson at the wrong time."
'Not very often implemented'
Following his father's death, Dopson and his wife approached Sudbury family doctor Ed Najgebauer to have their own DNR forms signed.
That's something Najgebauer said doesn't happen often enough.
"What I like to do is, at the age of 65, open up a discussion about advanced care directives," he said.
"This is something that is often talked about, but not very often implemented."
Najgebauer said he has spoken to the local health integration network and palliative care groups about the form. He wants to spread the word about the DNR form to make sure families don't end up in the same situation as Pete Dopson.
"The form is meant to stay at home and to be used if paramedics are called, but in the case of a car accident or lightning hit, the form would simply not be available," he said.