Do Not Resuscitate orders can be confusing.  Does having a health care power of attorney for someone authorize me to order a “do not resuscitate” ( DNR ) for that individual?  The basic answer is no; a licensed physician must sign the Do Not Resuscitate order based on the patient’s medical condition, taking into account any expressed wishes of the patient.

The good news is that Georgia Department of Public Health has created a form called Physician Orders for Life-SustainingTreatment – Georgia DPH Form - that DOES allow the doctor to consider an Advance Directive previously signed by the patient in making the decision to order a DNR.   So, armed with the patient’s properly completed Georgia Advance Directive, you should be able to have the DNR order issued if you are the patient’s health care power of attorney or health care agent under appropriate circumstances.  A copy of the Georgia Department of Health POLST form is provided; more information on the POLST is available at the Georgia DPH website.

This issue underscores the importance of every adult thoughtfully completing an Advance Directive for Health Care.  These forms normally are completed as part of your estate planning or Last Will and Testament preparation, or they can be completed separately.   A link to the Georgia statutory Advance Directive for Health Care form  is provided on our firm’s estate planning resources page.  Consult Hindson & Melton LLC or other estate planning attorney for more information.

Karen S. Hindson – Hindson & Melton LLC, October 28, 2014