Something could happen to you that makes you unable to make your own medical decisions. A car accident, stroke, and heart attack are just a few of the tragedies that have touched all of us.

In an effort to prepare for this day, some people might have a Do-Not-Resuscitate order (DNR) or a Living Will.  By the State of Florida, these documents are considered advance care directives. This means they tell your family and doctors what you want them to do when you are unable to speak for yourself. While both documents have the power to speak for you when you can’t, a DNR and a Living Will operate differently based on your medical condition.

The following article outlines the differences between a DNR Order and Living Will. If you have further questions or would like DiFranza Law to assist in creating your Living Will, book an appointment online now.

Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Order

A Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Order was developed by the Department of Health to allow you to formally state that you do not want medical professionals to revive you if you stop breathing or if your heart stops. A DNR is very limited in scope. If you are in an accident, but you are able to breathe and your heart is working, a DNR does not provide any instructions as to what you want to be done if you can’t eat or walk, or worse, find yourself in a coma. A DNR is best suited for situations where it would not make sense to resuscitate someone, usually for the elderly at the end of life.

Living Will

When something unexpected happens to you that makes you incapacitated (unable to speak for yourself), a Florida Living Will, if structured properly, would provide very specific instructions for what you would like your family and medical professionals to do based on the severity of your situation.

When Attorney Lisa DiFranza drafts Living Will documents for clients, she works closely with them to consider all of the various circumstances and options. A Living Will can tell your doctors when you want lifesaving or life-prolonging treatments such as blood transfusions, dialysis, feeding tubes, ventilators, etc. Since a Living Will only goes into effect once you become incapacitated, it can be changed or updated at any time.

As part of your Advance Care Directives, you can also name a Healthcare Surrogate. A Healthcare Surrogate is someone that you appoint to speak to whether or not you wish for your life to be prolonged. It can be a family member or close friend that you trust to speak on your behalf and carry out your wishes. As soon as your doctor determines you are incapacitated, your Healthcare Surrogate would take over.

For assistance with your Living Will and Advanced Care Directives, schedule a consultation with DiFranza Law. Attorney Lisa DiFranza works with families through Northeast Florida in the areas of estate planning, guardianship, guardian advocacy, and probate.