You have probably heard the term D.N.R. in realm of health care. D.N.R. stands for Do Not Resituate and is signifies a patient's choice to die peacefully. Doctors and other health care providers honor this directive and will withhold medical care based upon the patient's wishes.
In his essay "Shock Me, Tube Me, Line Me" recently published in Health Affairs, Dr. Boris Veysman, a New Jersey physician, challenges terminal patients and their families to reconsider the gravity of a DNR. In the essay he states:
"Life is precious and irreplaceable. My version of DNR is "Do Not Resign." Don't give up on me if I can still think, communicate and enjoy life. Treat my depression, dehydration, malnutrition and pain. Even severe, incurable illness can often be temporarily fixed, moderated or controlled, and most discomfort can be made tolerable or even pleasant, with simple drugs. Surround me with people; bring the kids so I can teach and talk to them. Let me use my e-mail. Recall the great people of our time who thrived with disability. People like Stephen Hawking, who has ALS and quadriplegia. People like Christopher Reeve. Only after you make every effort to let me be happy and human, ask me again if my life is worth living. Then listen and comply. At that point, if I wish to die, let me die. But until that happens, none of us realize what I can accomplish with another day, another week, another month. So do it all for me. Then ask someone to do it all for you."
No matter what your choice, it is always advisable that patients make their wishes known to their doctors, family members and loved ones.