Closed chest cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), having been so successful after its introduction in the operating room for saving lives of anesthetized patients, was adopted for use in the intensive care units, then hospital-wide, and finally to out of hospital patients. This has lead to ethical dilemmas involving patients who must themselves request discontinuation of artificial organ function devices and treatments, or placing family members in the difficult positions of having to make those decisions for their unconscious and suffering relatives. In this review, the Ethical principles on which physicians, hospitals, patients, and surrogate decision makers rely in order to apply their perceived moral obligations to provide patient safety, comfort, and treatment are examined with particular emphasis on do not resuscitate orders (DNR). It is clear that DNR does not equate with do not treat.
- Advanced directives
- Ethical principles