Sat, Sep 23, 2006 - Page 2 News List

DOH reminds its patients that they can opt out of CPR

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Department of Health and a medical association yesterday said that patients who do not want to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can have their preference marked on their national health insurance cards.

Chuang Jung-pin (莊榮彬), chairman of the non-profit Taiwan Hospice Organization, explained that patients who have an illness that they are unlikely to recover from can sign a "do not resuscitate" (DNR) order to reduce their suffering in the final moments of their lives.

The department's Bureau of Medical Affairs deputy director Yen Che-chieh (顏哲傑) said that having the preference marked on a patient's national health insurance card makes it easy for medical professionals to respect the individual's wishes.

"We're offering another medium for people to indicate their preference for DNR when they are about to die," he said, adding that the choice would also be noted in the patient's electronic medical record.

Taiwan Hospice Association standing supervisor Chen Jung-chi (陳榮基), who was also at the conference, said that although CPR has been used to revive patients since the 1960s, the practice sometimes only succeeds in reviving a patient's lungs and heart, and not other parts of the body.

He added that in certain cases, patients may also suffer rib fractures and massive internal bleeding and die painfully after receiving CPR.

The Hospice Palliative Care Regulations (安寧緩和醫療條例), which took effect six years ago, ensure the nation's citizens have the right to refuse CPR.

"Promoting hospice palliative care for dying patients guarantees that everyone can enjoy the right to choose a dignified or peaceful death," Chen said.

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