When the Ambulance Goes Home: A Tragic Flaw in the New York State Do-Not-Resuscitate Law

  • Timothy E. Quill
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 48)


The Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) legislation attempted to anticipate commonly occurring situations where the decision about whether to initiate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) might occur, and give patients informed choice in the matter. Perhaps nowhere has the legislation been more troublesome than in the regulation of emergency medical technicians [EMTs] and other ambulance personnel. The clarification of the law by the New York State Health Department presented at this conference, and to be distributed subsequently (See Appendix, this volume, pp. 415–438), has helped insure that a DNR order issued in a nursing home will be honored by EMT personnel who are transporting patients to the hospital. The clarification will prevent the kind of tragedy and anguish experienced by Ms Damm O’Brien and her family (described in this volume, pp. 169–171), and countless others who had opted for DNR orders in a nursing home, yet had the misfortune of encountering ambulance personnel who did not recognize or honor such orders.


Nursing Home Health Department Emergency Physician Presume Consent Ambulance Personnel 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy E. Quill

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