Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Information

One of an EMT's biggest challenges in the field has become handling a DNR situation. The situation usually involves a grief stricken family; either asking to continue  resuscitation efforts or discontinue. Seems simple right? It is when a patient is wearing a DNR bracelet. Here is information you need to know if a family member or yourself may elect to be a DNR.

Under Subchapter III of Wis. Stat. Chapter 154, an attending physician may issue a do-not-resuscitate order for a "qualified patient," as defined in Wis. Stat. s. 154.17 (4).

A "qualified patient" means a person who is at least 18 years old and who either has a terminal condition or has a medical condition such that, were the person to suffer cardiac or pulmonary failure, resuscitation would be unsuccessful in restoring cardiac or respiratory function, the person would experience repeated cardiac or pulmonary failure within a short period before death occurs, or resuscitation would cause significant physical pain or harm that would outweigh the possibility the resuscitation would successfully restore cardiac or respiratory function for an indefinite period of time. “Resuscitation” means cardiopulmonary resuscitation or any component of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, including cardiac compression, endotracheal intubation and other advanced airway management, artificial ventilation, defibrillation, administration of cardiac resuscitation medications and related procedures. “Resuscitation” does not include the Heimlich maneuver or similar procedure used to expel an obstruction from the throat. 

 As defined in Wis. Stat. s. 154.17 (2), a do-not-resuscitate order directs emergency medical technicians, first responders and emergency health care facilities personnel not to attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the person for whom the order is issued if that person suffers cardiac or respiratory arrest. The purpose of a do-not-resuscitate order is to ensure that medical care provided in the emergency department and out-of-hospital settings is consistent with the patient's desire and the attending physician's authorization.

DNR Bracelets

There are two types of Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) bracelets available to identify a person with a valid DNR order. One is a plastic ID bracelet, which looks like a hospital identification band and is free. The other is a metal bracelet, which is available from StickyJ® Medical ID for a fee. Both have been used in Wisconsin since 1995 and require a completed Do Not Resuscitate form  F-44763 (PDF, 154 KB) to be completed by the physician.

 The plastic Do Not Resuscitate Bracelet is free of charge and should be obtained directly from the physician. With the hospital-type bracelet, the physician signs an official insert containing the preprinted logo of the State of Wisconsin. The insert must include the physician's name, business telephone number and signature. Please note that the Department of Health Services does not supply the plastic bracelets, and there is no selected vendor. Each facility can use any vendor the facility chooses.

Per Wisconsin Statute ch. 154, StickyJ® Medical ID is recommended by the State of Wisconsin as the vendor for the permanent-type metal bracelet. The metal bracelet displays the internationally recognized symbol Staff of Aesculapius on the front and the words "Wisconsin-Do-Not-Resuscitate-EMS" and the qualified patient's first and last names engraved on the back. If there is space available on the back of the bracelet, additional health concerns may be added. The metal DNR bracelet is purchased for a cost, through StickyJ® Medical ID (link is external)(PDF, 1.3 MB). Cost information for the metal bracelet is located on the StickyJ® Medical ID website (link is external).

Bracelets purchased through Medic Alert, prior to Wisconsin identifying a new recommended vendor, will continue to be recognized.

efore the patient receives either bracelet, the attending physician must counsel the patient, the legal guardian, or the health care agent of an incapacitated patient. The counseling session should include written information about DNR procedures and documents to be placed in the patient’'s file noting the qualifying medical condition that warrants the DNR order.

The patient, patient'’s guardian, or health care agent who signed the Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form can revoke the order by removing, or asking someone to remove, the DNR bracelet. The attending physician must be notified as soon as possible.

To receive a DNR bracelet, complete the Do Not Resuscitate form F-44763 (PDF, 154 KB) and take it to your primary care physician.

If you are a health care facility or physician's office and want to order the printed Do Not Resuscitate Insert (F-44764) materials:

  1. Open the Publication Request Form F-80025a (Word, 158 KB).
  2. Fill in the shipping address (use street address only, no post office boxes), date, telephone number and email address.
  3. Request only the quantity that you will use over the next three to six months.
  4. Save the completed form to your computer and email it as an attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  5. Please note that the Department of Health Services does not supply the plastic bracelets, and there is no selected vendor. Each facility can use any vendor the facility chooses.

For program information, please contact the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health, Office of Preparedness and Emergency Health Care by calling 608-266-1568 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.