The Corner

National Security & Defense

Non Voluntary Do Not Resuscitate

The “do not resuscitate order” (DNR) is an important part of medicine that allows terminally ill, injured, and very aged patients die naturally without intrusive and potentially injurious efforts to keep the heart beating.

In short, the DNR informs a medical team faced with a patient in cardiac arrest to stand down.

Since it involves life and death, in this country (unlike the U.K.), DNRs are supposed to be only put on a chart with consent. But as medicine grows increasingly technocratic, we see doctors or bioethics committees placing them on charts without consent — perhaps without discussion — with family or patient.

In the U.K. — the mother of all technocratic medical systems–non voluntary DNRs have become something of a scandal. From the BBC story:

A “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order means medical staff will not attempt to bring the patient back to life if they stop breathing or their heart stops. The decision to use one is ultimately a doctor’s, but guidelines state medical staff have a duty to discuss it with relatives wherever possible.

The study of just over 9,000 dying patients, taken from cases in May 2015, found that in 81% of cases where a DNR was in place, a senior doctor did discuss the decision with a family – up from 72% in a 2013 audit. In 16% of cases the decision was not discussed with relatives. In the other 4% of cases records showed there were no relatives or the family could not be contacted.

Extrapolation from the 9,000-strong sample suggests thousands of people have had DNRs put in place without their family’s knowledge.

Don’t think that can’t happen here. It already does.

It isn’t just the DNR itself. There is anecdotal evidence that a DNR on a chart can lead to other treatments being withheld, despite the fact it is supposed to only apply to cardiac arrest.

Pertinently, some of the most influential architects of Obamacare looked to the NHS as their model of centralized control.

When you have centralized control, you get check-list medicine rather than individual care–sometimes with lethal results, as in this story and the Liverpool Care Pathway backdoor euthanasia scandal.

Most Popular


Jussie Smollett Jokes Declared Off-Limits

The Jussie Smollett story has been declared not fit for jokes. "It's a straight-up tragedy," declares the co-creator of a Comedy Central show, South Side, set in Chicago. Bashir Salahuddin, a former Jimmy Fallon writer, says “The whole situation is unfortunate. Particularly for the city, there’s bigger ... Read More

What The 1619 Project Leaves Out

“The goal of The 1619 Project, a major initiative from The New York Times that this issue of the magazine inaugurates, is to reframe American history by considering what it would mean to regard 1619 as our nation’s birth year,” The New York Times Magazine editors declare. “Doing so requires us to place ... Read More
PC Culture

Courage Is the Cure for Political Correctness

This might come as some surprise to observers of our campus culture wars, but there was a time, not long ago, when the situation in American higher education was much worse. There a wave of vicious campus activism aimed at silencing heterodox speakers, and it was typically empowered by a comprehensive regime of ... Read More