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Attorney General Van Hollen Issues Informal Opinion on Duty of County Jail Staff to Comply with "Do-Not-Resuscitate" Orders of Jail Inmates

MADISON - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued an informal opinion today holding that county jail staff who are trained to provide basic emergency medical care but who are not certified as first responders are not required by state statute to comply with the "do-not-resuscitate" orders of jail inmates.


Van Hollen issued the opinion in response to a request from Ozaukee County Corporation Counsel Dennis E. Kenealy.


Wisconsin law permits a person whose medical condition would make resuscitation useless or harmful if that person suffers cardiac arrest to obtain a "do-not-resuscitate" order under certain circumstances. The law requires first responders among others to follow "do-not-resuscitate" orders.


Van Hollen's opinion reasons that, as a result of a 2008 amendment excluding persons who are not certified from the definition of first responder, the law does not require compliance with "do-not-resuscitate" orders by jail staff who are trained in some emergency medical procedures but who are not certified first responders.


A copy of the original request and Attorney General Van Hollen's informal opinion can be found below: