All cancer, heart disease, dementia and serious lung disease patients, as well as all patients above the age of 75 will be asked to consider signing “do not resuscitate” order by their doctors in The United Kingdom.

The latest guidelines of the NHS in Great Britain suggest the doctor to propose the signing of the order to all the mentioned groups of patients. Moreover, the patients are also going to be asked if they wish to sign a statement saying that they do not wish to be resuscitated if their condition suddenly worsens.


This new techniques are said to be aimed at improving the medical care of people nearing the ends of their lives, but the reactions are very controversial. Some doctors and professional medical ethics experts suggest that this is completely wrong approach, which will send the message to the elderly that they are less worthy, and are being written off even thought they might be perfectly healthy! Some hospitals even have their nurses ask the over 75 years old patients to consider not being resuscitated on the phone.

Some patients are shocked that they were asked this question in their routine checkup with their doctor, without any apparent illnesses present, led alone terminal ones. Some other similar projects were publicly condemned, like the propositions of asking the patients if they would rather die at home. This preposterous ideas are coming from an organization which runs the health service in England, called NHS England.

Some experts claim that the new guideline is close to crossing the “assisted suicide” line. PatrickPullicino, one of the experts on the matter, who is leading the campaign against such ideas said “What is most blatantly wrong is trying to get someone to agree to a ‘do not resuscitate’ order before they are even sick. For somebody who is perfectly well, or has got a mild or not a serious illness, which would be totally out of place.”

Regardless of where you stand on this matter, the subject is extremely controversial, and much debate and discussions is ahead of us, not only in England, but in all the health systems considering similar solutions.