The Tragedy: The Love of Money

DNR Summary – shows the power of the doctor to decide a patient’s fate (the implementation)


For a DNR to be valid, the following criteria and procedures must be met:

  • The qualified patient, guardian, or health care agent must request the DNR order. Wis. Stat. § 154.19(1)(b).
  • An attending physician provides written information about resuscitation procedures and the methods by which the patient may revoke the DNR order. Wis. Stat. § 154.19(2)(a).
  • The patient, guardian, or health care agent consents to the order after being provided the information mentioned above. Wis. Stat. § 154.19(1)(bm).
  • The do-not-resuscitate order must be in writing and signed by the patient, guardian, or health care agent. Wis. Stat. §§ 154.19(1)(c) and (d).

After providing the required information

  • The attending physician must issue and document the DNR order in the patient’s medical record and either affix a DNR bracelet to their wrist or provide a form so the patient may order a bracelet from a commercial vendor. Wis. Stat. §§ 154.19(1) and (2)(b).
  • The desire of a patient to be resuscitated always supersedes a DNR. A patient may revoke their DNR at any time. Wis. Stat. §154.21, 154.25(6m).
  • A guardian or health care agent may revoke a do-not-resuscitate order by giving direction to resuscitate the patient. Wis. Stat. §154.225(2).

In Grace’s case:

  1. At no time did we ask for Grace to be labeled DNR.  We also did not agree to DNR status at any time.  The hospital’s letter to us, explaining her DNR status, references the doctor note as the reason Grace was labeled DNR.
  2. We never signed any statement regarding Grace being DNR.
  3. Grace was not wearing a DNR bracelet, as required by law.
  4. The first time we knew Grace was labeled DNR was when we were screaming for the nurses to do something and reverse the morphine given to Grace.  Their response, "She’s DNR" was their excuse for not helping her.  We screamed back, "She’s not DNR" and they did nothing.  They stood outside her door instead.  There was also an armed guard posted outside the room.
  5. Per Jessica’s (Grace’s sister, her advocate in the room when Grace died) summary of events:  "One nurse read off what the computer stated and that the doctor labeled her as a DNR which they claimed they couldn’t do anything about."