EWTN Catholic Q&A
Question from Gilbert Santoro on 03-13-2013:

What is the Catholic teaching on resuscitation? Can a person on hospice ask that they not be resustated?

Answer by Judie Brown on 03-16-2013:

Dear Gilbert

Here is the best article I have found on the subject of DO NOT RESUSCITATE orders:


Note that it says in part

This principle [excessive burden or not] can be expressed as follows: "A 'do-not- resuscitate' order is morally permissible if one can judge that CPR is excessively burdensome for this patient, taking into account his situation and his physical and moral resources, or that CPR imposes excessive expense on the family or community."

CPR can be administered either in a hospital to a patient who suffers cardiac arrest or outside a hospital by a rescue team to a person who stops breathing because of cardiac arrest. Examples illustrating how the moral principle justifying a "do-not-resuscitate order" in a hospital or outside a hospital will now be given.