Flawed and unethical, but I bet it would work:
- Alert the media that for the coming week, everyone will be DNR/DNI until proven otherwise, instead of full code.
- Miraculously watch as everyone rapidly develops a living will, durable power of attorney, and talks about their wishes with their loved ones.
You would’ve thought the Terry Schaivo thing would’ve done this already, but I seem to get all the patients who have no idea what they want. Just last night, an elderly Hispanic man was admitted for possible heart failure and possible heart attack, and after a lengthy discussion about code status, he tried to give me this innocent little indecisive giggle-shrug-smirk, as if I asked him what type of food he wanted to eat for dinner and just wanted to be agreeable. This ain’t one of those types of questions. You need an answer.
On a more ethical but medically ethical topic, some people propose making the organ donor system an opt-out system, where one would automatically be consenting to donate their organs unless they specifically said they didn’t want to.
*A person’s code status tells the health care system what he or she would like done if their heart stops or lungs stop working–would they like everything done (full code) at one extreme, or would they like no measures taken (DNR, DNI – do not resuscitate, do not intubate). You can pick any level of code status, and have specific parameters as well.