Do you know what a DNR (do not resuscitate) order is? It is a medical document that alerts doctors and other medical and rescue personnel about whether you want them to do anything they can to revive you if your heart stops.
I have been in the local hospital a few times for various medical procedures and am used to the questions that the staff asks before admitting you. And I have a DNR (do not resuscitate) document that I keep on file there. If my heart stops and reviving me will negatively impact my quality of life, I want my loved ones to let me go.
Information for and against human DNRs is readily available on the web and in books; anyone you ask will have an opinion.
However, for pets it’s a different story. Last week I had to take my dog, Suzi, to the veterinary hospital for a minor medical procedure and was given several forms to sign. One of them caught me totally off guard. I was asked to sign either a DNR or an “administer CPR” form for her. I had never thought about a DNR in relation to my dog and didn’t know what to do. I had no idea about how easily a dog’s heart stops beating during surgery and how quickly it’s quality of life will be impacted after that stoppage.
The vet told me that asking for a pet DNR is becoming common practice for many animal hospitals but would give me no recommendation on which form to sign.
When I got home, I got on the web and tried to research a pet DNR to see what the recommended practice is. I could find very little helpful information. I called friends with pets and they had no idea what to do either.
Luckily, the procedure went smoothly and Suzi was fine. But what if there is a next time? What should I do then?
We at Die Smart would love to hear from you with your opinions on this subject. To write a comment or to find out more about end of life planning, including human DNRs, go to www.diesmart.com.