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British Lung Foundation
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Do not resuscitate convosation


I was unexpectedly asked by my father's doctor to come into a room to talk about my father's medical welfare.

Short history

72yrs old, Multiple strokes 13 weeks ago and left bedridden unable to walk and move arm's, unable to eat is and is now peg fed.

Last week, he was sick, with low oxygen. Took straight to a and e

We're he still is now.

Diagnosed lower respiratory tract infection

He was on 8000 litres of oxygen per minute.

As of today he is down to 4000.

I guess I'm asking the question why???

As my dad seems to be improving he was even more talkative than usual for him. (He doesn't talk much since the stroke)

So why ask this question.

I haven't been told my dad deteriorating

Although I can see it.

But Is this question by the doctor more of a formality rather than "code for something more sinister?

He has mental capacity and never diagnosed copd.

12 Replies

I think it’s a formality. They keep asking me if I would like to sign the form

Take care



An explanation of DNRs, Do Not Resuscitate orders, and the guidelines followed by medical staff. :-



Yes I have had to do all that for my parents too..difficult to look ahead in that way I know..

Wishing your father well x

1 like

I believe it's a formality too. These days many people have DNR in place by choice. They could have serious problems if they tried to recusitate a person who actually has a DNR. As your father has mental capacity it might be an idea to have that conversation.

very best wishes to you, your dad & family. P


Thank you all for your replies.

It just got me even more worried.

Although the way the doctor spoke was wonderful. And he couldn't of shown more compassion and composure.

I just couldn't help but think.

Is he trying to say something else?

I do worry about my dad, very much.

Thank you pmrpete I've had a good read. Really helpful x


We had the same conversation after my father had his stroke, he couldn't sit or stand, was peg fed , incontinent as well.

My husband has made a living will which states his wishes.


Hi I think this is standard procedure when someone is very ill. We were asked the same questions when both my parents were ill and we decided on both accounts not to do any resusitation. You have the right to refuse it. x


Yes, I agree that it’s a formality for your father at this stage. But painful as it is to look ahead, resuscitation will take place on any person whose heart fails, unless their medical records state otherwise.

When we made this decision for my father....he had said ‘You decide’,.....we researched among friends, some medically trained, and the general realisation we came to was that resuscitation can be quite intensive and rough to restore a heartbeat. We heard evidence of broken ribs etc. (sorry to be so graphic) and we decided that outcome was not what was best for him...he had enough to cope with and a natural end, such as heart failure, was something we needed to learn to accept. In the end, he died naturally some time later, with no question of resuscitation.

We are having to make the same decision next week at my mother’s annual review....she is at home but elderly....98 today! I’ve chatted to her about it as sensitively as possible, and we have decided on the same decision, I think. Resuscitation is too intrusive for a very elderly person.

My younger sister was faced with the same decision, aged only 48, and suffering from final stage breast cancer. In her case the DNR decision meant no antibiotics for chest infections if they arose, as well as no heart resuscitation. She and I decided no heart resuscitation was appropriate but we wanted antibiotics to be used if needed until further notice. So it really is just a routine decision, though a very hard one. It just means your father has been ill and the hospital want to know your/his wishes should the need for resuscitation arise. Some people make a living will much earlier in life to cover this decision while they’re well enough to make it.

So no hidden messages I’m sure....just a decision to be made on the kindest medical response for your dad. Good luck...hope he goes from strength to strength, and the letters DNR on his records remain academic for now.


Hi Squashedtomato

I have had a DNR in place but they are only accepted in certain conditions.

After an initial discussions with my GP. to ensure sound mind etc and reasons I want it in place. .....If my organs start failing due to lack of oxygen / deterioration, that is the thin end of the wedge and I will go down hill gradually (or rapidly) so why try to revive me for me to got through it again?

To implement it you have to have the current form with you ( it has to be assessed annually by your GP). ...It is no good saying you have a signed form you must produce it and you must make sure your relatives are aware of it as well ? Because I believe they can suspend the document.!!

Not everything is straight forward not even organ donorship so let all relative be aware of the circumstances asap

The decision is a hard one to make and can only be done with due considerartion and feelings and for the Right Reason........I I'm pleased mine is in place and sincerely hope your father comes to the right but not easy decision

Take Care

Owen x


Just for clarity so as not to confuse readers, the figures used for oxygen levels are clearly not viable. Hope Squashedtomato doesn't mind me pointing out that the flow rate referred to should probably be 8 lts/min, not 8000 lts/min. With 8000 lts/min you wouldn't need a DNR.


I also have a dnr in place and also a form donating my body to medical science, which it has been accepted for. I didn't want my kids to have to make this decision at what is going to be a difficult time for them as it is.They are all aware of this and know where all the paperwork is. Also paramedics/ambulance people will not just accept that you don't want to be resuscitated they need to see the lilac form.

1 like

Hope you are well. Can you please tell me what is the lilac form.


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