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What is the difference between a Medical Power of Attorney and an Out-of-Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate Order?

The main difference is the range of medical treatments the documents cover.

An Out-of-Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate Order (or OOH-DNR, for short) is limited to out-of-hospital settings (for example, long-term care facilities or care given in transport vehicles) to refuse the following life-sustaining treatments should you suffer from respiratory or cardiac arrest:

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR),
  • Advanced airway management,
  • Artificial ventilation,
  • Defibrillation,
  • Transcutaneous cardiac pacing, and
  • Other life-sustaining treatments.

The Medical Power of Attorney, however, is not limited to the above treatments. If your agent’s decision conflicts with your OOH-DNR, the OOH-DNR controls; if no OOH-DNR exists, your agent may make any decisions about an OOH-DNR and may even execute an OOH-DNR on your behalf.