The DNR discussion
DNR is code for 'Do Not Resuscitate." It's a signed order in a hospital chart telling attending staff not to start CPR if a patient's heart stops and not to put them on a ventilator if they stop breathing.
Patients and their families are the ones who decide whether they'll consent to a DNR. But doctors and nurses are the ones who have to approach those families and begin that difficult DNR discussion.
In the ideal world, talking to a family is all about exploring well thought-out and heartfelt wishes. But it often doesn't happen that way. This week on White Coat, Black Art, we hear from Dr. Nathan Stall about the first time he was given marching orders to "get the DNR".
Then we ask the ethicist about the DNR. Dr. Stephen Workman, an internist and bio-ethicist tells us how he believes young residents should approach the issue.
And finally, two Intensive Care Unit Nurses, Eugene Mondor and Joanne Suranyi put us inside the room and by the bedside where increasingly complex decisions about DNRs are made.