Attorney General Brad Schimel issued a formal opinion today to interim Sauk County Corporation Counsel Debra O’Rourke on whether county jail staff are required to comply with a jail inmate’s “do-not-resuscitate order.”

According to Wisconsin statutes, people employed in three specific occupations must follow a do-not-resuscitate order: emergency medical services practitioners, emergency medical responders, and emergency health care facilities personnel. Some county jail staff not falling into one of these categories may be trained to provide basic emergency care. Inconsistencies between recently enacted statutes and pre-existing administrative rules created uncertainties in the county jail system as to whether staff providing emergency care must follow do-not-resuscitate orders even where they do not fit into one of the three occupations listed above.

The attorney general concluded that county jail staff are not required to follow do-not-resuscitate orders unless they fall into one of the three specified occupational categories. The statutory intent to limit the requirement to the named occupations was clear. The contrary administrative rules were invalid to the extent they imposed that requirement more broadly than the statute did.

A copy of the formal opinion can be viewed below.

Note: To view in full-screen, click in the middle of the PDF viewer. Use the arrows on the edges of the PDF viewer to flip through the pages if more than one page.

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