The Missouri Legislature is being asked to expand the state’s Do Not Resuscitate orders to include patients under 18-years-old. The bill would allow patients under 18 to have Do Not Resuscitate orders issued on their behalf by a parent or legal guardian. State Representative Hannah Kelly, a Republican from Mountain Grove, is the bill sponsor.

“Folks came to me expressing some very heartbreaking stories of how the wishes of the patient and the family were not honored when the moment of crisis came and I believe very much it’s very, very important to respect that structure,” said Kelly.

She clarified that her proposed legislation deals not with how a Do Not Resuscitate order is created but honors the wishes of the parents and the physicians without putting EMS workers in the middle when 911 is called. She added that it applies to children who deal with heartbreaking situations involving serious illness that most residents will never have to deal with.

“So that everybody knows exactly how the guardrails are when it comes to what is a very hard conversation about Do Not Resuscitate orders, you know, making sure that the patient’s wishes are respected and that the health care professionals know exactly what they need to do in that moment because we have clarified in state statute,” she said.

State Representative Sarah Unsicker, D-Shrewsbury, said she is concerned that some parents with undiagnosed mental health illness could make that decision for their child against the child’s best interests.

Click here for more information on House Bill 594.

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