11th Jul 2018

The last post discussed the basics of an Advance Directive for Health Care (ADHC) in Oklahoma, which can help in making end of life decisions.  The ADHC is one of at least three basic estate planning documents every person should consider.

Before leaving the ADHC topic, it is important to make this point: an Advance Directive for Health Care (ADHC) is NOT a do not resuscitate order or consent (DNR).  These are difficult issues, and there can be confusion or questions about the two when these discussing these topics.


An ADHC only kicks in under three limited circumstances: a) a terminal illness that will result in death within six months regardless of the treatment; b) persistent unconsciousness in which thought and awareness of self are absent; or c) an end-stage condition.

A DNR kicks in any time the person’s heart stops beating or they stop breathing.


An ADHC allows a person in the three limited circumstances listed above to choose to have – or to not have – certain medical attention: a) life-sustaining treatment; and b) artificially administered nutrition and hydration.  It gives the option to have or not have these things.

A DNR refuses any medical procedure to restore breathing or heart function.  It generally does not prevent the Heimlich maneuver, oxygen, or other comfort care measures.


I generally do not even consider having clients sign a DNR except perhaps in very limited circumstances in consultation with their healthcare professionals.

If clients are concerned about the issues addressed in an ADHC, I generally recommend they consider having one.

I am sure others have different views, and I would love to hear them as comments to this post or through contacting me directly.

As with all legal issues, brief blog entries can only scratch the surface and provide opportunity for further research and discussion.  But it is important to understand the main broad point: an ADHC and DNR are not the same.  They are governed by different laws, apply to different circumstances, and have different effects.

If our office may be of assistance to you in these areas, do not hesitate to contact us at (580) 338-6503 or at coryhicks@fieldandhicks.com or using any of our contact information in the profile.  You can also visit www.fieldandhicks.com for more information.

This blog contains general information and the opinions of the author – not legal advice; you should seek the advice of competent counsel (attorney/lawyer) when considering any legal issues.


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