CPR Policy

At Swedish Medical Center, it is our policy that when medically reasonable, all patients receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if they stop breathing or if their heart stops beating.

If you do not want CPR, an order from your physician is required. Please be sure to let your health-care team know if you do not want CPR so that your physician can provide the order.

The following information explains our policy as well as what CPR is and its associated risks. We encourage you to discuss this information with your physician and health-care team.


The hospital staff performs CPR when there is breathing/lung failure. It first involves pressing on the chest, placing a tube into the throat to create an airway and pushing air into the lungs. More advanced treatment may be needed, such as ventilator machines to help with breathing or pacemakers to keep the heart beating.

When pressing on the chest, there is a risk of injury to the ribs or internal organs. Also, if blood flow stops due to heart failure, there is a risk of additional injury, including brain injury.

Not always. National data indicates that people have a 4-percent to 20-percent chance of surviving and leaving a hospital after CPR has been performed to resuscitate the heart and/or lungs.

Swedish provides CPR to all patients with heart or lung failure unless there is a specific physician’s order not to do this.

Your physician must write an order telling the hospital staff not to perform CPR even if you stop breathing or your heart stops beating. Please be sure to discuss this topic with your physician and health-care team in advance so that your wishes are clear.

Yes. You will still receive quality care even if you tell us you do not want CPR. We will do our best to ensure your comfort while in the hospital and will follow other wishes you may have.