News, Culture and NPR for Central & Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
91.7FM Alpena and WCML-TV Channel 6 Alpena are off the air. Click here to learn more.

Legislation would expand Do Not Resuscitate orders so they could include minors


Do Not Resuscitate orders would be expanded to include minors under new legislation in the Michigan house.

Under current law, parents or guardians cannot execute Do Not Resuscitate orders on a minor child.

Michigan passed the Do-Not-Resuscitate Procedure Act in 1996. The act gave anyone “18 years of age or older” the right to a Do Not Resuscitate order.

In 1999 then-Attorney General Jennifer Granholm issued an opinionwhich found that if Do Not Resuscitate orders were intended to be used by persons under the age of 18 the legislature “would have so stated.”

Republican State Representative Daire Rendon is a sponsor oflegislation to change that. She said parents of minors, particularly ones diagnosed with advanced illnesses, should have the ability to make this decision.

“I might have a minor child that is dealing with a horrible illness that it is never going to recover from,” she said. “This would allow a parent to execute it for the child.”

Rendon said not many people will need to use Do Not Resuscitate orders for minors but, she says, she believes it is important that the option is made available.

“It gives you some rights in having a say about whether or not you’re going to allow medicine and machines to keep you alive when you’d much rather pass on to a greater glory.”

Similar legislation was introduced in the 2018 session. A bill analysis said despite not being covered under law many parents do execute DNR orders on a child. But the analysis noted the legislation would have resolved concerns from school administrators about complying with those DNRs.

A spokesperson from the Michigan Association of Superintendents and School Administrators said they have not had time to review the current legislation.

Rendon said the legislation has bipartisan support and he is hopeful that it will pass.