Often-times, clients get confused and are not aware that a Florida Living Will, commonly called an “Advanced Directive” is not the same document as a “Do Not Resuscitate Order” (DNR). Nor, is a Living Will the same document as a Will. A Florida Living Will is used for health and a Will is used for money. While the Florida Living Will and the DNR are both health related documents, the Florida Living Will and DNR are not necessarily interchangeable. Clients believe if they have one document filled out, they do not need to worry about the other, but it is encouraged to have both documents in place. It is important for health officials to know your desires in an emergency situation.
To clarify the distinctions between the Living Will and the DNR, the Florida Living Will is a legal document that states whether one wants to be on any artificial life sustaining devices to prolong their life, provided they are in any of the following 3 conditions: “terminal condition”, “end-stage condition”, or “persistent vegetative state” to either “pull the plug” or don’t. Each of these conditions have slightly different meanings according to the definitions in Florida Statute 765.101, but to summarize: there is no reasonable probability you will recover once you are deemed to be in one of these conditions as decided by two competent physicians. This document allows the burden to be off the family members leaving them with peace of mind because the patient already made their wishes known.
Alternatively, a DNR is a document provided by your physician stating you do not want to be resuscitated if something happens, such as if you have a heart attack and your heart stops beating. Otherwise, CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) will be used in the form of mouth to mouth, machine breathing and chest compressions to attempt to redeem breathing or a heartbeat. In these instances, quality of life should be taken into account. For example, having certain medical conditions and later in life ages, the DNR could potentially crack some ribs or puncture a lung in the process, that is if someone is already in a fragile condition, it may become more difficult if they are resuscitated.
Both documents serve important purposes, and both inform doctors and loved ones what your desires would be in the case of a medical crisis.