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What You Should Know About a DNR 

An estate plan is more than an outline of how you want your assets divided after death. A complete estate plan should include provisions specific to your wishes after death, what medical treatments you want if you fall permanently ill, and who you want to be in charge of making critical medical decisions for you if you are unable to decide for yourself.

One piece of an estate plan that may individuals overlook is a do-not-resuscitate order or DNR. Should you consider adding a DNR to your estate plan or advance directive? At Staubus and Randall, we want you to be well informed about all your options. Here’s what you should know about a DNR. If you have pressing questions about your case, don’t hesitate to contact our legal team today.

DNR forms

What Is a DNR?

A do-not-resuscitate order is a legally binding document signed by a physician that alerts other health care providers they are not to perform resuscitative measures. An active DNR will generally prevent lifesaving measures when a person stops breathing, their heart stops beating, or they suffer a medical emergency.

In Texas, a DNR order prohibits medical personnel from performing CPR, advanced airway management, and artificial ventilation. For a DNR order to be valid, the form must be written and dated by a patient declared competent. Contact us today.

Should You Consider a DNR?

Everyone has the right to make their own decisions related to medical care. In that sense, anyone can decide to obtain a DNR, even healthy individuals. Most healthy individuals don’t contemplate their own mortality often. Therefore, most healthy individuals do not take the time to consider what lifesaving measures they are comfortable with medical professionals taking. However, accidents can happen. If you are in the process of creating an estate plan, you should also consider whether a DNR order may be appropriate for you.

Often, those living with a terminal condition, health care concerns, and those who are elderly are the people who will generally pursue obtaining a DNR. These individuals may have faced challenging medical decisions in the past and want to be fully in control of the outcome of their situation. Additionally, they may not wish to prolong or extend their life through CPR or resuscitative measures when they are already in such fragile conditions.

While CPR can be a lifesaving technique, there are misconceptions about its effectiveness in the elderly and those who are medically vulnerable. One study indicates that among the elderly, only three to five percent of patients survive CPR and are discharged from the hospital. CPR can cause broken bones and other medical complications and may not even be appropriate for some patients, meaning there is no medical benefit for certain people. When a person has gone too long without oxygenated blood, CPR may be effective in resuscitating them. However, the person could be left with brain damage and damage to vital organs, negatively impacting their quality of life.

Obtaining a DNR

If you are interested in obtaining a DNR, schedule a time to talk to your physician. You will want to bring up your concerns and discuss the potential benefits and risks involved in resuscitative efforts. Once you have more information and feel comfortable with your decision, ask your doctor to fill out a DNR form. Your doctor can fill out the DNR order, but standard DNR forms are also available through the Texas Department of Health and Human Services website. Once the forms are completed, your physician will place the DNR in your medical record.

It is also crucial to talk to your family about your wishes. Let them know you have filed a DNR and do not want resuscitative measures taken. Contact us today.

DNR Blocks

Keep These DNR Facts in Mind

If you have a DNR on file or are thinking about filing one in the future, keep these things in mind:

  • If you have a DNR on file, family members cannot override the document
  • If you are incapacitated, a health care agent or legal guardian can agree to file a DNR order on your behalf
  • If you change your mind, talk to your physician immediately. Your physician must be involved in rescinding a standing DNR order
  • A DNR does not change other aspects of medical care

 Contact a Dallas Estate Planning Attorney Today

Looking for more information about DNRs, advance directives, or living wills? Call the Dallas estate and probate litigation lawyers of Staubus and Randall today at 214-691-3411, or contact us online. We can help you manage all aspects of your estate plan and protect the things that are important to you.


The Firm

The attorneys at Staubus and Randall have over 100 years of combined experience in estate planning, probate, and litigation. We have the knowledge and skills to tackle complex legal issues, such as guardianships, will contests, fiduciary litigation, and trust litigation. We can also handle routine matters, such as estate administration, probating wills, heirship determinations, and other probate court matters.

Staubus and Randall received a preeminent AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating possible from a peer-rated legal service. This rating recognizes our hard work, dedication, and the case results we’re able to achieve.

Staubus & Randall Team

What Our Clients Say

"I recently had the occasion to hire Mr. Staubus for a hotly contested Guardianship matter. Mr. Staubus brought a rare combination of effectiveness, reasonableness and understanding of the human element involved. Mr. Staubus handled all things in a calm, highly competent, effective and reasonable way. It could not have been as easy as he made it seem. He's a credit to the Bar."


"Before retaining the guidance of the Staubus & Randall firm, I was at my wit's end trying to close an uncle's estate as a co-executor. In addition to dealing with difficult heirs, I had other pressing business issues coming up immediately on estate land in the middle of the Eagleford Shale including dealings with pipeline, seismic, oil & gas, and construction companies. The local bank also refused to give me access to information relating to the estate. This quickly became the most stressful and desperate time in my life...and then I found Joseph Legere who truly became my guardian angel. He was able to get all issues resolved efficiently and the estate fully closed. His professionalism, immense legal knowledge on a wide variety of topics, and amazing communication skills took the burdens off of me and quickly got closure. I am forever indebted to this firm for giving me my life back."


"Without exception, the legal service, professional attitude, prompt communication of your firm and your legal knowledge is second to none. I only wish I had an attorney here in Boston that could hold a candle to your experience and expertise. Working with you has been a pleasure, but even more, has made me believe that there are knowledgeable attorneys that do care about doing a good job. Thank you Keith! You may not truly understand how much of an impact you are having on peoples lives, but for me, you have helped change my life. As I begin making my dreams come true I can't help but remember none of this would be possible without you."


"Keith Staubus and Julie Blankenship and their team represented me in a jury trial in the probate court where the ownership of the business which I had worked hard to build was at stake. They successfully fought to preserve my business and my professional reputation, working masterfully to gain the support of the jury. I would not hesitate to hire them again in any bet-the-company litigation.”


"I have required legal representation twice in my life in two separate will contests. Both times I sought assistance from Keith Staubus and Staubus/Randall. Their service, approach, and determination to obtain results exceeded the other attorneys in each case. Mr. Staubus has always come across as genuine while being direct. He gets the process done in a timely manner with results. I will certainly use him again when and if any new challenges arise.”

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