The Difference Between DNR and Medical Power of Attorney

In this episode Atty. Chris Berry talks about the difference between DNR (do-not-resuscitate) and Medical Power of Attorney. What they mean and their purpose.


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Episode Transcript


Key Differences

Hey everyone. This is Chris with Castle Wealth Group, and today we’re going to talk about the difference between a medical power of attorney, an end of life decision-making versus a DNR or do-not-resuscitate. There’s a lot of confusion around this. So we’re going to talk about it. And if you like this information, make sure to subscribe so you’re notified when we have new videos.

Christopher Berry is a leading estate attorney and advisor in the area of retirement and legacy planning. He has been featured in publications, such as for Forbes, Kiplinger’s, Crain’s Detroit and more. He’s the host of the weekly radio show and podcast, The Chris Berry Show. He’s a national thought leader as it relates to retirement and legacy planning, and as author of the Amazon bestselling book, The Caregiver’s Legal Guide.

Question from today from a client, and he was dealing with his mom who is 94 and in a hospital in ICU, in a tough position. And one of the things they were talking about was a DNR and whether she should have a DNR versus a medical power of attorney, and then it started him thinking about his own planning. And one of the things he said was, “Chris, I want to make sure that I don’t have a DNR,” because we had done his planning. And I told him that he doesn’t have a DNR. What he has is a medical power of attorney. In Michigan we call this a patient advocate designation, and what this medical power of attorney or patient advocate designation does is it includes what’s called end of life decision-making.


Issues with DNR

So this is similar to that Terri Schiavo situation, who is a woman down in Florida, she was in a vegetative state. Her husband wanted to remove her from life support. Her family wanted her to remain on life support, and it became a big court battle that lasted over eight years. All because she did not have a medical power of attorney. Everyone over the age of 18 should have a medical power of attorney. You never know when life’s going to throw you a curve ball. Terri Schiavo was in her mid twenties when that happened. Now that’s very different than a DNR, do-not-resuscitate. A DNR or do-not-resuscitate is a document that says that if you were to have some type of events, like a heart attack and emergency shows up, they’re not going to resuscitate you.

Now there’s a lot of issues with DNRs, because if you were to call 911, they’re probably going to ignore that DNR anyways because think of it from a liability standpoint. But typically DNRs are used more in assisted living or nursing homes versus when you’re living at home independently. So not many of our clients have DNRs, almost all of our clients have medical powers of attorney, because you need to create your own rule book of who you’re pointing to make medical decisions, and then you need to give some guidance with regards to end of life decision-making. So hopefully that’s helpful, and now you understand the distinction between a do-not-resuscitate DNR, which is very different than that medical power of attorney. And if you like this information, please make sure to subscribe. This is Chris Berry with Castle Wealth Group. Take care

Castle Wealth Group has clients across the nation and helps families plan, protect and preserve what is important by creating a retirement and legacy blueprint.




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