Did you know that a living will or advanced directives are not honored by the EMT team? If you have requested a do not resuscitate order or no life sustaining medication in your advanced directive and you go into cardiac arrest in transport with EMS they have to attempt CPR and all life sustaining procedures.
Luckily there is a way around this. In order for the EMS team to honor your DNR wishes you need to have a form filled out called an EMS/DNR. Unlike an advanced directive an EMS/DNR must be signed by a doctor. This means you need to have two forms available in an emergency your EMS/DNR for the EMS team and your advanced directives for the hospital.
On January 1, 2013 a new state wide form known as MOLST (medical order for life sustaining treatment) was implemented. This form combines the EMT and DNR on one form. There are other benefits to the new MOLST form. Advanced directives are just your wishes they are not a legal form. The MOLST form has to be filled out by your physician keeping in the guidelines of your wishes. The MOLST form turns your choices into medical orders that have to be honored by all health care settings across the states. The form is kept with your medical records at all times and goes with you from home to hospital to nursing home. The MOLST form is effective immediately. A health care proxy or living will is only honored when you lost the ability to make medical decisions.
A MOLST form can be downloaded and given to your physican to complete. There is a bracelet you can also purchase if you want to make sure EMS or health care providers see you have a DNR. Just like an advanced directive the MOLST form can be changed or revoked at any time but every change needs to be filled out by a physician. The latest dated MOLST form will be honored. If you already have an old EMS/DNR form filled out as of now it will still be honored by the EMS team.
If you do not have a living will or advanced directives and you have no one to make medical decisions for you all life sustaining procedures will be attempted. You can prevent this from happening if you so choose by having a MOLST form in your medical records. Since the form is a legal document as a medical order you are essentially requesting your doctor to becomes your health adviser in lieu of family or friends to honor your end of life choices.
It is not easy to have to make these decisions especially if you are in good health. Imagine how much harder it would be to make these decisions if you are in a coma on a ventilator.