EMS Tips

If I wear this in New Jersey am I a DNR Patient?

From the email inbox …

Question: Greg, an EMT in New Jersey told me not to wear a blue bracelet because hospitals use blue bracelets for Do Not Resuscitate patients. Is this true?

Answer: This lit up my skeptic meter to a 7.6. I don’t doubt that some hospitals use color-coded wrist bands to indicate patients that have allergies, contagious diseases, and specific treatment wishes. The DNR bracelet could very well be blue.

Happy with @roadid elite on TwitpicNonetheless, this should not prevent a member of the general public from wearing a blue bracelet as fashion statement or identification. I wear a blue Road ID when I cycle and run. I can’t imagine that if I was hauled into a hospital that used blue for DNR bracelets that the nurses and physicians would look at my blue Road ID and not provide me emergency treatment.

For good measure learn more about the New Jersey Do Not Resuscitate Orders. I didn’t find any mention of bracelet color. I also found this national campaign for consistency in hospital patient bracelet color coding across the country. Makes sense to me. The national proposed color for DNR bracelets is purple.


By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.