REVIEW – October 2017

Do not resuscitate order in Estonia

Authors: Eva Antsov, Saara Sadrak, Katrin Elmet, Rainer Ratnik, Juuli-Ann Tähiste, Eno-Martin Lotman

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Advanced directives including the do not resuscitate/do not attempt resuscitation orders are declarations regarding person’s preferences about medical treatment in case they are unable to make decisions by themselves. Decision to withhold cardiopulmonary resuscitation can be motivated by medical futility as well. Decisions about refraining from resuscitation were called into being in the United States of America in response to failures of universal resuscitation script and imperfect management of end-of-life issues in hospitals. In Estonia, the tradition of advanced directives and patient autonomy is young and insufficiently covered by the law. The article intends to give historical, general legal, social, and ethical context to the withholding of resuscitation practice in Estonia.