Patient doesn’t want CPR

‘Business Dilemmas’

Dr Kathryn Leask

A private GP asks for advice about signing a DNACPR form. Dr Kathryn Leask gives her response






Dilemma 1

What to do about her request?

My patient has a friend who is disabled after being resuscitated

QI am a private GP. A 40-year-old female patient has asked me to sign a DNACPR form for her, as she does not want to be resuscitated in the event of a cardiac arrest. 

She has no health problems and has capacity to make her own decisions about her care. She is adamant she would not want to be resuscitated due to the risk of permanent disability. 

Her reason for making this request now is that she has witnessed a friend of a similar age, who was also previously fit and well, having a cardiac arrest associated with having Covid-19, who now has severe physical and intellectual disabilities. 

I have discussed with her that there are many reasons why a person may suffer a cardiac arrest, some of which are treatable with a potentially good outcome. 

I have also advised the patient that any such event is likely to occur in an emergency setting where those present may not know what her wishes are, meaning that attempts at resuscitation are likely to be made until more information became available.

Please could you advise on the best course of action?