Do-not-resuscitate orders in suicidal patients: Clinical, ethical, and legal dilemmas

Renee Cook, Philip Pan, Ross Silverman, Stephen M. Soltys

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

12 Scopus citations


Background: The authors review the literature related to patients who obtain a Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) order in preparation for a suicide attempt. Objective: The authors review the ethical issues involved in making a decision to resuscitate or not in an attempted suicide with a DNR order. Method: The authors address the potential legal consequences of action or inaction and clinical issues to consider before a DNR order is issued. Results: DNR laws do not take into account the situation of the mentally ill person framing a DNR order as a preparation for suicide. Conclusion: The article recommends screening for suicidal ideation before issuing DNR orders, having clear hospital policies regarding the honoring of DNR orders if suicide is attempted, and clarification of state DNR laws regarding suicide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-282
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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