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Patient Decisions

HSHS St. Vincent Hospital provides health care based upon belief in the sanctity of human life and the dignity of each person. We are committed to providing you with useful information to assist you in making informed health care decisions.

Photo of female patient and nurse smiling and holding hands Photo of female patient and nurse smiling and holding hands

Planning Your Care

Below is important information about your right to select your provider, Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) orders, and organ and tissue donation.

Patient Freedom of Choice of Health Care Providers
We respect the rights of every patient and recognize that you are an individual with unique health care needs. We will provide you with considerate, respectful care focused on your individual needs.

We support your right to make decisions regarding your medical care, including your right to select the provider of that medical care. Your choice of provider is expressly guaranteed by legal and ethical considerations. At HSHS St. Vincent Hospital, you are given the opportunity to exercise this right free from coercion or interference.

HSHS St. Vincent Hospital has undergone rigorous onsite evaluations against established state-of-the-art quality and safety standards such as those provided by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. HSHS St. Vincent Hospital is committed to meeting its obligation in providing you with the information you need to make informed choices and in assisting you in implementing those choices.

Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR)
In 1995, Wisconsin Act 200 created new language in Chapter 154 of the State Statutes establishing a system for issuance of Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) orders and DNR bracelets in certain circumstances. The act is summarized below.

DNR orders are written orders issued by physicians to direct emergency medical technicians, first responders, and emergency health care facilities personnel not to attempt CPR on a person for whom the order is issued if that person suffers cardiac or respiratory arrest. A person with a valid DNR order is identified by a standardized DNR bracelet. The bracelet is a specific State of Wisconsin Division of Health plastic bracelet.

The Act 200 DNR order can be issued only if:
  • The patient is a qualified patient.
  • The patient requests the order.
  • The order is in writing and is signed by a physician.
  • The physician does not know the patient to be pregnant.

  • Only an attending physician may issue a DNR order under Act 200.
  • Act 200 does not control DNR orders for hospital or other inpatient and outpatient settings.
  • A qualified patient is someone who is age 18 or older and who has a terminal condition or a medical condition such that, were the patient to suffer cardiac or pulmonary failure, resuscitation would be unsuccessful, cause significant harm or pain or would be successful only temporarily.
  • Comfort care will be given, but no life sustaining cardiac or pulmonary care will be provided.
  • The patient can revoke the DNR order by expressing to the emergency health personnel the desire to be resuscitated or by defacing, cutting, removing, or asking someone to remove the bracelet. The attending physician should be notified as soon as possible of the revocation; the revocation should be recorded in the patient’s medical record.
  • Patient family members' or friends’ wishes do not supersede the wishes of the patient with a valid DNR bracelet.
Organ and Tissue Donation
Donating an organ is one of the most generous and natural things one person can do for another, but it cannot happen without your permission.

To become an organ or tissue donor, visit DonateLife Wisconsin to register. You may also indicate your preference on an Advance Directive.

This decision is important, but it is the best way to pass the priceless gift of life along to someone in need. Many people have done it. Many families have felt comfort in knowing their loved one contributed so significantly to another’s life. It truly is the “gift of a lifetime.”

Make sure your family is aware of your decision to become an organ donor as family members must consent to the donation procedure. Because donation only occurs after death, a team of medical specialists will evaluate suitability for organ and tissue donations at that time.