Do Not Resuscitate Directives
In very isolated situations, a child who is terminally ill may be enrolled and actively participating in a public school. This policy sets forth what school personnel may and must do if a student subject to a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) directive faces a life-threatening medical emergency.
The law provides that a “POLST order” executed pursuant to Utah Code § 75-2a-106 may be directed to health care providers or emergency medical service providers licensed or certified under Utah Code Title 26, Chapter 8a. A POLST order gives direction to health care providers, health care facilities, and emergency medical services providers regarding the specific health care decisions of the person to whom the order relates. The law further provides that those licensed or certified emergency medical providers may be directed to withhold or withdraw all life-sustaining procedures. Professionals licensed pursuant to Utah Code § 26-8a-302 include paramedics, medical directors, emergency medical service instructors, behaviorial emergency services technicians, and other emergency medical personnel. Such professionals are granted immunity from liability for complying in good faith with a POLST order. Such professionals are also granted immunity for providing life-sustaining treatment notwithstanding a contrary directive in a POLST order.
- Medical service providers who are school employees may have responsibilities related to the treatment or withholding of treatment for persons for whom a valid POLST order has been issued pursuant to Utah Code § 75-2a-106. Such providers may act in good faith to exercise their judgment with regard to complying with a POLST order to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment or to provide life-sustaining treatment despite a contrary directive in the order.
- With the exception of situations governed by paragraph 1, above, it is the policy of the District that first aid shall be provided to any and all students in need of such assistance while under the control and/or supervision of the District. POLST orders will not be followed by school district staff who are not licensed under Section 26-8a-302.
- When a school employee or volunteer observes or becomes aware of a medical emergency involving a student, normal responsive actions should be taken, including the summoning of emergency medical personnel and administering first aid.
- This should be done by school staff irrespective of whether a POLST order is in place and has been provided to the school with respect to that particular student.