“LOVING WILL” OFFERS ETHICAL MEDICAL OPTIONS
With growing concerns about advance directives such as “living wills”, “do not resuscitate” (DNR) orders, and other critical issues related to health care, a Loving Will package is available which “enables you to tell your loved ones and health care professionals – in writing – that you desire all appropriate actions necessary to preserve your life if you are hospitalized and unable to speak for yourself. Call 1.866.LET.LIVE for this package [no charge, but a $9.95 shipping/handling fee for each will].
A similar packet is available from the International Task Force on Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide, the Protective Medical Decisions Document (PMDD) is the International Task Force's Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care in which the signer names an agent to make health care decisions in the event that the signer is unable to do so.
The document expressly defines and prohibits euthanasia. Each PMDD set includes questions and answers, a checklist, 3 PMDD documents and one Protective Identification Card. It is available in Multi-State version and state-specific versions. [$8.00 for postage and handling] [740.282.3810; www.internationaltaskforce.org].
The concept of the “living will” was originally invented in 1967 by two groups, the Euthanasia Society of America and the Euthanasia Education Council.
The “living will” opened the new strategy of an incremental approach…
Along with the “living will”, these groups also made strategic name changes:
The Euthanasia Society of America changed into the Society for the Right to Die and the Euthanasia Educational Council became Concern for Dying.
In the 1990’s, the groups formally merged and are now known simply as Choice in Dying. [“Of Living Wills and Butterfly Ballots”, by Nancy Valko, R.N.; The Pro-Life News, 8/01]
Organizations promoting protective health care documents:
1. American Life League, PO Box 1350, Stafford VA 22555; 866-538-5483; www.all.org – “Loving Will”
2. International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force, PO Box 760, Steubenville, OH 43952; 740-282-3810; www.iaetf.org – “Protective Medical Decisions Document”
National Right to Life Committee, 419 7th St NW, Suite 500, Washington DC 20004; 202-626-8800; www.nrlc.org; “Will to Live” (available on their website)
[You may have questions involving people who have Alzheimer's or considered in the so-called "permanent vegetative state." Although these guidelines may not cover every situation, they provide guidance in the most common situations.]
Nutrition and Hydration-Rules to Know
Here are some practical "rules" for making moral decisions regarding the provision or withdrawal of food and fluids, whether the patient is fed orally or through a tube.
• While inserting a feeding tube may require surgery or other medical expertise, food and fluids themselves are not medical treatment because they do not cure; they sustain life.
• Removing food and fluids from those able to eat and drink on their own or with the assistance of another person is never appropriate.
• Tube-feeding persistently non-responsive patients is obligatory in most cases since it is beneficial and usually does not add a serious burden.
• For terminally ill patients, the provision of food and fluids is generally obligatory care.
• When death is so close that further nutrition and hydration will no longer sustain life, they may be discontinued if the patient is more comfortable without them.
• It is most important to examine intent. Is the intention to hasten or cause death?Then the omission of food and fluids is wrong. [Celebrate Life, July/Aug 02, reprinted in the Illinois Nurses for Life News, N. Valko, R.N.]