Since February 1, 2008 the
The new form that has been issued by the province now lets emergency workers respect the decision of a patient to die if they are found to be without a pulse and not breathing. The official DNR form is not something you will find in the public domain and must be issued and signed by a health care professional such as; a medical doctor or registered nurse. To be valid, the form must also have a registered serial number and all mandatory fields must be filled out accordingly. Incomplete forms cannot be considered valid, if an incomplete form is received, paramedics and firefighters are not permitted to honour the Do Not Resuscitate request.
So how does it work, and are there exceptions? If a patient has a valid DNR form and is found to be clinically dead; without pulse. The emergency workers will not attempt CPR, defibrillation, artificial ventilation, intubation or use resuscitation drugs. If the patient is found to be breathing and with a pulse, the patient will receive comfort or palliative care which is designed to alleviate pain or discomfort. This all sounds very simple and quite easy to understand, however real life does not always follow a script and people often change their minds especially in stressful situations. If a valid DNR form is given to an emergency worker but the patient or a family member withdraws the consent, the emergency worker will begin resuscitation when needed. Even if the request is vague or uncertain, emergency workers are told to err on the side of caution. Finally should an emergency worker question the validity of the DNR form in any way, they are then bound by their operating procedures to begin resuscitative care. If you or anyone you know feels they need a DNR form, please speak to your doctor and family about this matter.
For further information on this matter published on the Ontario Fire Marshals website; CLICK HERE