Responses – Declarations / DPA / Advance Directives / Talking Points

How to Obtain an Advance Medical Directive

There are 3 different pro-life advance directives available. In contrast to most “Living Wills”, all 3 pro-life alternatives state that food and water are to be provided (by feeding tube if necessary) unless death is imminent and the person’s body is unable to assimilate nourishment at that point. (There is nothing to fear about a feeding tube; it is a simple device that has been in use for more than 100 years. The liquid food, such as Ensure, is common and inexpensive… No one wants a feeding tube, just as no one wants dentures, but if you are hungry, you would probably gratefully accept aid in receiving food. Sometimes a feeding tube is inserted, not because the patient can’t swallow, but because it is more convenient for the caregivers than feeding by mouth.) Here are the pro-life advance directives: The Will to LiveNational Right to Life Committee512 10th St NWWashington, D.C. 20004202.626.8800http://www.nrlc.org/euthanasia/willtolive/index.html Protective Medical Decisions Document (PMDD)International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted SuicideP.O. Box 760Steubenville OH 43952800.958.5678http://www.internationaltaskforce.org/adneeds.htm The Loving WillAmerican Life League, Inc.P.O. Box 1350Stafford VA 22555540.659.4171http://www.all.org/issues/index.htm (click “End of Life Care”) Unfortunately, the laws of all but 10 states may allow doctors and hospitals to disregard advance directives when they call for treatment, food, or fluids, according to a report issued by the National Right to Life Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics, on 15 April 2005. Dorothy Timbs, J.D., Legislative Counsel for the Powell Center said, “It is important to fill out an advance directive like the Will to Live available on our website, to make you wish not to be denied food or treatment clear. However, it...

Is There a Better Option Than a Living Will?

Living Wills vs. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions An Advance Medical Directive provides guidance to medical professionals if you are incapacitated and cannot make your own medical decisions. Currently, there are two primary documents which fall into this category: Living Wills and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decision (DPAHCD). The DPAHCD is preferred for the following reasons: Living Will A vague statement saying a physician may withhold or withdraw treatment if you are terminally ill A piece of paper that medical professionals may ignore or misinterpret Gives blanket authority to a doctor you may or may not know, a serious concern in these days of managed care Generally exempts doctors from liability, regardless of medical surrogate’s directions Does not guarantee your wishes will be carried out Presumes non-treatment, regardless of medical situation Allows “treatment” to be defined by state law (In many states, assisted nutrition and hydration are considered medical treatment) Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions (DPAHCD) Appoints a surrogate to make your medical decisions (applies in any crisis, regardless of prognosis) Names a person who will be your advocate Gives authority to a loved one who knows your wishes Legally clarifies surrogate Generally exempts doctors from liability if following decisions May include an addendum outlining your specific wishes to hold your surrogate accountable Defers to surrogate and written wishes Other Information to Consider The Patient Self Determination Act of 1990 requires health care facilities receiving federal funds to ask patients upon admission if they have or want to sign an Advance Medical Directive. However, the time to consider and sign...