Living Wills: Have They Failed? (2010)

[Comment: Yes, they [Living Wills] have [failed], and most of them are downright dangerous. However, note the example of short-term ventilator assistance for pneumonia. This is probably new information for most people. This is why I tell my patients who are wondering about “living wills” about a protective durable power of attorney and that they might consider not signing off on any specific treatments or care. Much of what people know about such things as feeding tubes and ventilators is not accurate and it’s virtually impossible to predict a future situation. Would you sign an operation permit before you have any problems? Wouldn’t you would want to know all relevant information beforehand in order to make a good decision? Then why sign an advance directive to refuse all sorts of basically undefined treatments or care that might save or improve your life, especially when you are still healthy? N. Valko RN] The great health reform debate over alleged death panels has fizzled. Lawmakers guaranteed that by stripping provisions supporting end-of-life planning from legislation enacted last month. What remains is the status quo. It’s left to individuals to decide if they want to think about their medical destiny at life’s end, talk to their families and make their wishes known — as it has always been. Some doctors initiate these discussions before people are at death’s door, but most don’t. Despite intensive educational efforts, only 30 percent of adults have prepared an advance directive: a living will or a durable power of health care attorney appointing a surrogate decision-maker. To many experts, this indicates that current approaches to advance care...

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

If you are 18 years old or older, and you're reading this, you have the right to make your own medical decisions. But that could change in an instant. For example, an accident or illness could leave you — temporarily or permanently — unable to make those decisions. That is why it is so important that every adult have a carefully drafted Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. The International Task Force's (ITF) Protective Medical Decisions Document (PMDD) is one such legal document that allows a person to name someone to make those decisions in the event they cannot make them for themselves. Parents of college students take it for granted that, if they are paying for their child's medical care, they always have the right to make medical decisions for a son or daughter who becomes unable to do so. But that is not the case. In fact, they may even be unable to get information about a hospitalized adult child's medical condition. However, the person who is designated in a PMDD to make health care decisions can have access to such information. Young adults can designate a parent as their decision maker so that, in the event of a sports injury, illness or accident, someone who knows and loves them will have the authority to protect their lives and well-being. That's why a PMDD should be one of the necessities given to each and every 18-year-old. To obtain a PMDD package from the ITF for yourself, for a college student, or for anyone else, call 800.958.5678 and ask about the PMDD...

End Of Life Resources

Advance Directives are an important protection… End of life decisions can cause great anguish in families. In the current health care climate, it is important to be informed concerning all your options. No one is required by law to have an advance directive; do not let anyone pressure you into signing any type of advance directive. The following are offered as sources of information concerning advance directives:    Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide & Health Care Decisions: Protecting Yourself & Your Family by Rita L. Marker http://www.internationaltaskforce.org/rpt2006_TOC.htm International Task Force Update http://www.internationaltaskforce.org/iua40.htm To obtain the Protective Medical Decisions Document (the ITF's durable power of attorney for health care), call 740-282-3810 or 800-958-5678, 8:30am – 4:30pm (eastern time). American Life League The Loving Will — Ethical Alternative to the "Living Will" http://www.all.org/article.php?id=10171&search=loving%20will National Right to Life The Will to Live http://www.nrlc.org/euthanasia/willtolive/index.html     Lives considered by some to be "imperfect" and "burdensome" may not be here on earth for themselves, as much as they are here for us, the care-givers. As care-givers, we may actually be the ones who benefit from these lives, as we learn to care for others, and to put their welfare before our own. If people contemplate and really see the Sanctity of Life, their "quality of life" arguments fall away and they will understand that we are here to Care for each other, not to kill each other. Caring, and not convenience, is the sign of a civilized and just society… Preserving the original prolife hospice mission… Ron Panzer, Hospice Patients Alliance http://www.hospicepatients.org *************************************************** Here is a wonderful example of growing as human beings, of sacrificing for...