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As a physician, on the medicine wards you come across patients with "DNR" or "Do-Not-Resuscitate" orders on their chart. You also find yourself in situations where you are asked to discuss with a patient his or desires concerning resuscitation following a cardiac arrest or life-threatening arrhythmia.
Like many other medical decisions, deciding whether or not to resuscitate a patient who suffers a cardiopulmonary arrest involves a careful consideration of the potential clinical benefit of intervention, the patient's preferences for the intervention, and the likely outcome. Decisions to forego cardiac resuscitation are often difficult because of real or perceived differences in these two considerations.