By: Joan Reed Wilson, Esq.
The first part of the current Connecticut Advance Healthcare Directive form (and for some people the only advance healthcare directive that they have) is known as the Living Will. The Living Will is the statement that if a physician or an APRN (a new addition to Connecticut law as of October 2018) determines that you are in a coma or persistive vegetative state that the physician or APRN determines you will not come out of, then you do not want to be kept alive on life support machines. This is NOT a DNR.
“DNR” stands for Do Not Resuscitate and means that if you stop breathing, you will not be resuscitated. Most otherwise healthy people would want to be resuscitated if they collapsed and stopped breathing, for example, if they had a heart attack. Those who are terminally ill and are suffering may choose not to be resuscitated if their heart stopped beating or they stopped breathing. A DNR is something that you execute with your PHYSICIAN, not your lawyer. A DNR is also something that can be executed by your Health Care Representative.
As an aside, in Connecticut, bracelets are the only valid DNR identifier. This means that if 911 is called, a paramedic will attempt to resuscitate the individual if he or she is not wearing a DNR bracelet. Even if the family is standing there with the bracelet or DNR order in hand.