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EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES
PREHOSPITAL DO NOT RESUSCITATE (DNR) FORM
The Prehospital Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Form has been developed by the California Emergency Medical Services Authority, in
concert with the California Medical Association and emergency medical services (EMS) providers, for the purpose of instructing
EMS personnel regarding a patient’s decision to forego resuscitative measures in the event of cardiopulmonary arrest. Resuscitative
measures to be withheld include chest compressions, assisted ventilation, endotracheal intubation, defibrillation, and cardiotonic
drugs. This form does not affect the provision of life sustaining measures such as artificial nutrition or hydration or the provision of
other emergency medical care, such as palliative treatment for pain, dyspnea, major hemorrhage, or other medical conditions.
This form was designed for use in prehospital settings --i.e., in a patient's home, in a long-term care facility, during transport to or
from a health care facility, and in other locations outside acute care hospitals. However, hospitals are encouraged to honor the form
when a patient is transported to an emergency room. California law protects any health care provider (including emergency response
personnel) who honors a properly completed request regarding resuscitative measures, including a Prehospital Do Not Resuscitate
Form (or an approved wrist or neck medallion), from criminal prosecution, civil liability, discipline for unprofessional conduct,
administrative sanction, or any other sanction, if the provider believes in good faith that the action or decision is consistent with the
law and the provider has no knowledge that the action or decision would be inconsistent with a health care decision that the
individual signing the request would have made on his or her own behalf under like circumstances. This form does not replace other
DNR orders that may be required pursuant to a health care facility's own policies and procedures governing resuscitation attempts
by facility personnel. Patients should be advised that their prehospital DNR instruction may not be honored in other states or
The Prehospital Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Form must be signed by the patient or by the patient’s legally recognized health care
decisionmaker if the patient is unable to make or communicate informed health care decisions. The legally recognized health care
decisionmaker should be the patient’s legal representative, such as a health care agent as designated in a power of attorney for health
care, a court-appointed conservator, or a spouse or other family member if one exists. The patient’s physician must also sign the
form, affirming that the patient/legally recognized health care decisionmaker has given informed consent to the DNR instruction.
The white copy of the form should be retained by the patient. The completed form (or the approved wrist or neck medallion—see
below) must be readily available to EMS personnel in order for the DNR instruction to be honored. Resuscitation attempts may be
initiated until the form (or medallion) is presented and the identity of the patient is confirmed.
The goldenrod copy of the form should be retained by the physician and made part of the patient’s permanent medical record.
The pinkcopy of the form may be used by the patient to order an optional wrist or neck medallion inscribed with the words “DO
NOT RESUSCITATE-EMS.” The Medic Alert Foundation (1(888)755-1448, 2323 Colorado Avenue, Turlock, CA 95381) is an
EMS Authority-approved supplier of the medallions, which will be issued only upon receipt of a properly completed Prehospital Do
Not Resuscitate (DNR) Form (together with an enrollment form and the appropriate fee). Although optional, use of a wrist or neck
medallion facilitates prompt identification of the patient, avoids the problem of lost or misplaced forms, and is strongly encouraged.
In the absence of knowledge to the contrary, a health care provider may presume that a request regarding resuscitative measures is
valid and unrevoked. Thus, if a decision is made to revoke the DNR instruction, the patient’s physician should be notified
immediately and all copies of the form should be destroyed, including any copies on file with the Medic Alert Foundation or other
EMS Authority-approved supplier. Medallions and associated wallet cards should also be destroyed or returned to the supplier.
Questions about implementation of the Prehospital Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Form should be directed to the local EMS agency.
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