Resources on Resuscitation

Blog Posts

The Ethics of Resuscitation
A Brief History and the Center for Practical Bioethics to Improve CPR Outcomes, by Myra Christopher and Rosemary Flanigan, PhD

A Right to Be Shocked?
Do we all have an obligation to try to bring someone back from the dead?  Should we assume that person lying on the floor wants us to try? How much evidence to the contrary do we need in order to decide that resurrection shouldn’t be an option?

Advance Care Planning

Caring Conversations
A workbook designed to guide you, your family and friends through the process of advance care planning, including a healthcare directive form and a durable power of attorney for healthcare form.

Caring Conversations for Young Adults
A starting point for young adults and their families to talk about topics related to serious illness, such as organ donation, do not resuscitate orders and naming a person to speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself.  

Transportable Physicians Orders for Patient Preferences (TPOPP)
Resources for translating seriously ill patients’ preferences into physicians’ medical orders that follow patients across settings.

Case Studies

Alice’s Frail Mother

Mr. Jay and the Missing Protocol

Barney Says No

My Patient’s Dying


Resuscitation Decisions
An overview of resuscitation decisions and unfolding issues, many of which are still being debated. 

A Practical Approach to DNR Decisions, by James Stoddard, DO
Suggestions for overcoming problems and confusion surrounding proper use of CPR and DNR orders. 

An Alternative Policy for CPR in Nursing Homes, by Steven C. Zweig
The author traces the historical progression of resuscitation in nursing homes, problems in existing policies and suggestions for alternatives.

Honoring DNR Orders During Invasive Procedures
The Kansas City Regional Hospital Ethics Consortium provides guidelines for resuscitation when a patient undergoes an operative or invasive procedure.

Other Resources

RadioLab: The Bitter End
Ask most people on the street if they want CPR if it would save their lives and they say yes. Ask most doctors and 90% say no. Joseph Gallo, MD, professor at Johns Hopkins University, and Ken Murray, MD, who’s written articles on how doctors think about death, explain that there’s a huge gap between what patients expect from life-saving interventions (such as CPR, ventilation, and feeding tubes) and what doctors think of the same procedures.

Do Not Resuscitate
A Poem by Brenda Butka, MD, JAMA, October 24-31, 2012

I can say
your father is dying.
I can say
wishing will not make it so,
belief doesn't change a thing.
I can say
love does not conquer all,
miracles are pretty stories told in church,
the movies you saw as a child are lies,
blind hope is not a recipe for success,
underdogs usually lose,
death is not the worst thing, it is just
the last thing.
But for you that is not true.
I can say
we have to pretend
that we can bring him wheezing
back to you like an old accordion,
chest pleating in and out,
singing his customary songs,
oxygen bumping its hurdy-gurdy way again
through his ancient heart.
But how can I tell you how
someone will shout down the hallway, kneel
frantic on the bed,
lean his fists against that old breastbone, sharp, frail,
one onethousand, two onethousand, and count it out.
I can say
we should not do this.
He will never be the same.
I can say
if it were my father.
I can say
do not confuse resuscitation
with resurrection, although
neither works particularly well.
You look like you are drowning,
pallid and slow in the waiting room’s
underwater light.
So. Tell me.
Tell me again.
Tell me about your father.

Center for Practical Bioethics

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