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Patient Legal Decisions

While in the hospital, you may have to make legal or ethical decisions about your care. At St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, we want to make sure you’re well-informed for when those moments occur.

The first step is understanding your treatment plan. When visiting our hospital, we encourage all patients and/or parents to ask the following questions (if applicable):

  • Why is this procedure or treatment necessary?
  • What are the alternative options?
  • What results, whether short-term or long-term, should I expect?
  • Are there risks and, if so, what are they?
  • What happens if I deny getting treatment?

Some patients may want to consider asking a lawyer to prepare a few documents in advance that will help with future healthcare decisions. We value the rights of our patients and want to keep them informed of what is available to them.

Advance Directives

These legal documents provide instructions regarding who should oversee your medical treatment. In the event of being unable to speak for yourself, it outlines your end-of-life wishes and includes a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Living Will.

DNR Comfort Care Directives

DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Comfort Care directives detail for healthcare workers that they are not allowed to:

  • Start an IV (intravenous line)
  • Provide respiratory assistance
  • Insert a breathing tube or artificial airway
  • Initiate cardiac monitoring
  • Alternative means of intervention

Patients may consider the following options should surgery be needed and are curious as to how the DNR Comfort Care status may affect physician decisions during operations:

  • Discontinue advance directives during surgery
  • Continue advance directives but modify during surgery
  • Request no changes made to DNR comfort care orders
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