BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 01 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1015
  1. John Crampton, consultant physician
  1. 1Wythenshawe Hospital, University Hospital of South Manchester Foundation Trust, Manchester
  1. j.r.crampton{at}

I have huge difficulty in discussing “do not resuscitate” (DNR) orders with people whose loved ones are close to death, especially if this is untimely, unexpected, or non-malignant. This remains the case even when we know cardiopulmonary intervention would be futile. The response “But, doctor, surely we should give him a chance?” is all too frequent, and the explanation that the patient has no chance sounds arrogant, unhelpful, …

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