What is the Difference Between a DNR and a Living Will?

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A DNR is not the same thing as a Living Will. A DNR, which stands for “Do Not Resuscitate,” is an order signed by a doctor to not resuscitate the patient. This order has to be signed by both the doctor and the patient, or the patient’s guardian or representative. It instructs the health care providers not to perform CPR if the patient’s breathing stops.

On the other hand, a Living Will is a legal document where an individual states whether or not he or she wants to be kept alive artificially if he or she is in an end of life situation. For example, if a person were terminally ill or in a vegetative state, his or her wishes as described in his Living Will would take effect. The individual can state his or her specific preferences as to whether he or she wants to be kept alive with life support.

Many times, a Living Will can be a part of a person’s Advance Directive for Health Care, where a person can appoint a representative to act on his or her behalf. An attorney should prepare a person’s Advance Directive for Health Care to make sure that it is legally valid and complies with state law. Feel free to schedule an appointment so we can begin preparing your Advance Directives for Health Care.

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