Pediatric Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Orders

March 10, 2017

Priority: Pass legislation allowing emergency medical services technicians to honor pediatric do-not-resuscitate orders for children with a terminal illness.

Background: Children with terminal illness routinely have do-not-resuscitate orders, commonly referred to as “DNR” orders.  These orders are written at the request of the child’s parents or legal guardians after extensive consultation with the child’s physician.    DNR orders allow for comfort care, i.e. pain control and breathing support, but do not allow for painful and medically futile resuscitative efforts such as electric shocks to the heart or intubation. DNR orders for children are honored in a healthcare setting such as a hospital, but South Carolina law currently prohibits emergency medical services (EMS) from honoring DNR orders for children.