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Estate planning: "Do not resuscitate" orders in Ontario

There are people who have made the decision not to be brought back to life if their hearts stop. The do not resuscitate order, or DNR, is one where people do not want any emergency lifesaving measures to be used to keep them alive. This order, which can be a part of estate planning in Ontario, is often used for those who are terminally ill and gives medical personnel clear directives.

Even though those wishes are clear, the law surrounding them can sometimes be murky. Although patients or legally-appointed guardians can refuse treatment such as CPR or defibrillation, there may be some contentious issues with doctors regarding the directive. Stating these wishes in a power of attorney when estate planning is very important. When a DNR order isn't mentioned on a patient's record, the patient will receive emergency treatment to try to prolong the patient's life.

There are all kinds of issues surrounding a DNR order. Doctors may choose to override a DNR order if the doctor thinks the patient would want emergency treatment and if the order originally came from the patient's appointed proxy or guardian. In the same instance, if a patient who was once unresponsive becomes responsive during an emergency treatment, the patient's wishes still stand and he or she can refuse further treatment.

An Ontario lawyer experienced in wills and estates law can guide a client in these kinds of issues when it comes to estate planning. A lawyer who fully understands estate planning would be able to help a person make critical decisions such as this one. A lawyer will also make sure his or her client's wishes regarding an DNR order is clearing stipulated in all formal documents relating to the estate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: findlaw.ca, "How does a do-not-resuscitate order work?", Accessed on Oct. 1, 2017

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