Do Not Resuscitate

S1E10: Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)

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DNR means “Do Not Resuscitate.” DNR orders are written instructions from a physician telling health care providers not to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). CPR uses mouth-to-mouth or machine breathing and chest compressions to restore the work of the heart and lungs when someone’s heart or breathing has stopped. It is an emergency rescue technique that was developed to save the life of people who are generally in good health.

Research shows about only 40% of patients will survive CPR after a cardiac arrest, but even fewer – only 10-20% – survive long enough to be discharged from the hospital. For patients with end stage heart or lung disease – CPR does not appreciably lengthen life, and it can leave survivors with painful injuries and reduced function.

This podcast discusses the alternative – a DNR order. Most terminally-ill patients would prefer to die naturally surrounded by their loved ones instead of the trauma caused by CPR. We also discuss the difference between DNR and Allow Natural Death.


Do Not Resuscitate – by Brenda Butka, MD

I can say
your father is dying.
I can say
wishing will not make it so,
belief doesn't change a thing.
I can say
love does not conquer all,
miracles are pretty stories told in church,
the movies you saw as a child are lies,
blind hope is not a recipe for success,
underdogs usually lose,
death is not the worst thing, it is just
the last thing.
But for you that is not true.
I can say
we have to pretend
that we can bring him wheezing
back to you like an old accordion,
chest pleating in and out,
singing his customary songs,
oxygen bumping its hurdy-gurdy way again
through his ancient heart.
But how can I tell you how
someone will shout down the hallway, kneel
frantic on the bed,
lean his fists against that old breastbone, sharp, frail,
one onethousand, two onethousand, and count it out.
I can say
we should not do this.
He will never be the same.
I can say
if it were my father.
I can say
do not confuse resuscitation
with resurrection, although
neither works particularly well.
You look like you are drowning,
pallid and slow in the waiting room’s
underwater light.
So. Tell me.
Tell me again.
Tell me about your father.

JAMA. 2012;308(16):1613. doi:10.1001/2012.jama.11596

Funeral Theater – Wit

Marcia rejoins us as a guest to perform a fantastic dramatization with Marianne of a key moment in Wit, a popular Broadway play that was later adapted to a film with Emma Thompson.

The discussion centers around DNR.


So are the bigger chocolaholic recipes a bit much for your diet? We’ve got you covered…well, if you can only eat one. How about Mini Death by Chocolate Cheesecakes? Click here for the recipe!

Everything’s Funny…as long as it happens to someone else!

Charlie shares a joke with us in our first episode with humor segment, but we need more! Please send us your jokes, questions, ideas and more!

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