WV Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)

Most current version dated 2020.  Older versions are still valid and can be utilized

Cardiopulmonary resuscitate on (CPR) is an emergency medical procedure that can be tried for an individual whose heart has stopped. It is also used for individuals who have stopped breathing. It involves squeezing the heart between the breastbone and the spine, putting a tube into the windpipe to assist with breathing, and electrical shock to the heart.

It can be a lifesaving measure for a healthy adult who has an unexpected heart stoppage from a heart attack or drug reaction. It rarely works in individuals with advanced cancer or chronic heart, lung, or kidney conditions.

If you want to be kept comfortable and allowed a natural death without CPR or machines, you can ask your doctor or health care clinician to write a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order for you.  In West Virginia, the DNR order for persons outside of a hospital is issued on an orange card.

Many people think CPR is always successful because of the way it has been shown on television or in the movies. The more health problems someone has, the less likely it is that CPR will bring someone back to their prior health and abilities. When CPR is done in hospitalized individuals, it is successful overall in only about 15% of individuals. Only about 5% of individuals or 5 of 100 who have chronic medical problems such as heart failure will leave the hospital alive after CPR.

The WV Legislature passed the WV Do Not Resuscitate Act to protect the rights of persons to control whether or not they receive CPR. CPR may cause unwanted pain and suffering. Individuals who live through CPR almost always spend time on a breathing machine in an intensive care unit. At the end of life, most West Virginians say they would not want to be kept alive on machines.

Because the DNR order must be completed with a health care clinicians (MD, DO, APRN, or PA), individuals can request these form from their health care clinicians. DNR cards cannot be mailed to individuals for completion. Your health care clinician must complete the order with you -- you should never be provided a blank DNR order to complete alone.


Download the WV Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) brochure