Resuscitation and organ donation

DNAR forms and CPR decisions

CPR or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation are the measures taken when your heart or breathing stops. Sometimes these measures can be successful, if you choke for example. Sometimes it will not be successful, if you are at the natural end of your life. It can be traumatic, and sometimes if it is successful, you may not recover and spend a
lot of time somewhere like intensive care which can be upsetting for your loved ones.

If you do not have a DNAR or DNACPR order (do not attempt resuscitation) then medical staff will have to attempt to resuscitate you.

The order can be made after a discussion between you and your doctor, they will sign the paperwork and you will need to keep a copy at home with you, it would leave hospital with you if you were discharged for example and would need to be bought in with you.

You must have a DNAR decision discussed with you and your family before it is in place and signed by a doctor, therefore it is good to have this discussion early on.

The form you complete with your doctor will be known as RESPECT form. It gives space to document if you want to be resuscitated and the level of treatment you want to be given and under which conditions.

find out more about RESPECT forms

Organ or tissue donation

There may be limitations to the organs that you can donate when you have cancer. Speak to your doctor if you are interested in organ donation and they can help explain what you may or may not be able to donate. Many people can donate corneas if they cannot donate their organs, this could restore sight in someone and is a valuable donation.

Some people are interested in donating their bodies to science after their deaths to further research into their disease. Your local medical school can answer questions about this and provide consent forms.

This cannot be decided by someone else after your death and the decision needs to be in writing and witnessed.