Do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders in Saudi Arabia were first regulated by a fatwa on a national level in 1988, one that excludes the patient and their families from decision making. Although the core of this policy is taken up by all hospitals in Saudi Arabia, there is no homogeneity in implementation. Here, we appraise what interns and residents know of these policies and their attitudes toward DNR.
Interns and residents in four major hospitals in Jeddah, King Abdulaziz University Hospital, National Guard Hospital, King Fahad General Hospital, and King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital, were given a questionnaire in English with four blocks of questions.
A total of 140 questionnaires were included in our study. From these questionnaires, we conclude a lack of familiarity with DNR's policies and the fatwa and also a lack of understanding when it comes to treating DNR-labeled patients. The majority opinion was to include the patient in the decision-making process who is excluded according to the fatwa. Participants considered patients' dignity, religious concerns, and legal concerns to be important in considering resuscitation.
We conclude a need to emphasize the issue of DNR and treatment of DNR patients in medical ethics classes in Saudi Arabia and put more effort to enact national DNR laws that include the patient in the decision-making process.