Do Not Resuscitate Order

Joy Tomkins Tattoo of her DNR
Joy Tomkins Tattoo of her DNR


While a Tattoo may be a novel way of a DNR it is not legally binding. Though lets start from the beginning.

What is a DNR or DO Not Resuscitate Order?

Do Not Resuscitate orders are orders on a patient’s file which means that a doctor is not required to resuscitate a patient if their heart stops.

Its aim is to stop any unnecessary suffering.

DNR’s normally come in to effect where:

  • The patient has had a heart attack
  • Has stopped breathing
  • Where there is no benefit to the patient
  • Where Benefits of resuscitation are outweighed

What if I don’t have a DNR?

If you do not have a “Do Not Resuscitate Order” your doctor will do the following:

  1. Look for a (recent) DNR in your medical records.
  2. This will Look at your Lasting Power of Attorney to see if:
    • a statement has been included in the LPA specifically authorising the welfare attorney to make decisions relating to life-prolonging treatment
    • the LPA has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian
    • the decision being made by the attorney is in the patent’s best interests.
  3. If there is no LPA there will look for a Living Will / Advance Decision, and how up to date this is. (constant reviews should be done and signed).
  4. If these are both not present the most senior doctor will make the decision if it is in the best interest of the patent to resuscitate and will consider the views of anyone named by the patient as someone to be consulted, anyone engaged in caring for the person or interested in the patient’s welfare. (friends family etc)
  5. If there is no family or friends or relevant party an n independent mental capacity advocate (IMCA) will be asked to assess the matter as it is deemed a “serious medical treatment”. an IMCA should always be involved at this stage.

How to make a Do Not Resuscitate Order

There are two main ways to refuse Life Sustaining Treatment.

  • The first is to give your Attorneys in a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare the power to refuse the treatments on your behalf.
  • Secondly alternatively create a Living Will (Advance Decision or Advance Directive in Scotland)  which details the fact you do not wish to be resuscitated.Please read our Living Will factsheet for more information