RIGHT TO DIE: ID Tags Would Display DNR Orders
The Ohio Health Department is developing a state-wide program that would allow residents who "prefer a natural death to the life-supporting machines of modern medicine" to purchase "Do Not Resuscitate" bracelets and necklaces. Patients wearing the "jewelry," which would resemble a hospital wristband or soldier's dog tag, would receive palliative care but no extreme measures for resuscitation. A department committee drafted the rules for the program, which are slated for an Apr. 5 public hearing in Columbus. Committee member Dr. David Romano said, "We wanted to come up with something simple that explains, 'When my heart stops, when I quit breathing, I don't want anything else.' That's so the paramedics and the doctors and nurses can recognize this person and respect their wishes." The state legislature ordered the rules drafted last year "because there often was no quick and precise way to sort out whether people had signed living wills spelling out their wishes." State Rep. George Terwilleger, who sponsored the legislation, said, "At the end of a life, I'm trying to make sure it's between the person and God. And I was also trying to say there shouldn't be a bunch of lawyers in there afterwards suing and saying there was liability for doing the wrong thing." Also being prepared by the state are wallet cards identifying the bearer's DNR preference. The program could begin as soon as May (Sloat, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 3/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.