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'Do Not Resuscitate' Orders

Valerie D. Raskin, MD
JAMA. 1985;253(21):3094. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350450066019.
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To the Editor.—  As a house officer, I welcome the recent JAMA discussion of "do not resuscitate" (DNR) orders. In view of Dr Youngner's findings that resident physicians, albeit in consultation with attending physicians in the medical intensive care unit, are primarily responsible for writing DNR orders,1 it is ironic that the same issue reports that a mere 8% of physicians received training in medical ethics as part of their residency programs.2 If only 15% of DNR orders are written at the request of the patient or his family, it seems that the decision to resuscitate is being made by those of us with the least experience and training in such matters.Perhaps the question of who makes decisions about DNR orders should separate patients' decisions from those of their families. Talking about DNR orders may be as uncomfortable for the inexperienced physician as it is for the


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