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Do-not-resuscitate decision: the attitudes of medical and non-medical students
  1. C O Sham1,
  2. Y W Cheng1,
  3. K W Ho1,
  4. P H Lai1,
  5. L W Lo1,
  6. H L Wan1,
  7. C Y Wong1,
  8. Y N Yeung1,
  9. S H Yuen1,
  10. A Y C Wong2
  1. 1University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  2. 2Department of Anesthesiology, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong
  1. Correspondence to:
 MrC O Sham
 Flat 8B, Block 2, Julimount Garden, 8–12 Fu Kin Street, Shatin, Hong Kong; philipsham{at}


Objectives: To study the attitudes of both medical and non-medical students towards the do-not-resuscitate (DNR) decision in a university in Hong Kong, and the factors affecting their attitudes.

Methods: A questionnaire-based survey conducted in the campus of a university in Hong Kong. Preferences and priorities of participants on cardiopulmonary resuscitation in various situations and case scenarios, experience of death and dying, prior knowledge of DNR and basic demographic data were evaluated.

Results: A total of 766 students participated in the study. There were statistically significant differences in their DNR decisions in various situations between medical and non-medical students, clinical and preclinical students, and between students who had previously experienced death and dying and those who had not. A prior knowledge of DNR significantly affected DNR decision, although 66.4% of non-medical students and 18.7% of medical students had never heard of DNR. 74% of participants from both medical and non-medical fields considered the patient’s own wish as the most important factor that the healthcare team should consider when making DNR decisions. Family wishes might not be decisive on the choice of DNR.

Conclusions: Students in medical and non-medical fields held different views on DNR. A majority of participants considered the patient’s own wish as most important in DNR decisions. Family wishes were considered less important than the patient’s own wishes.

  • CPR, cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • DNR, do-not-resuscitate

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  • Competing interests: None.

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  • Correction
    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and Institute of Medical Ethics

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