Saturday, March 19, 2005

Healthcare Directive

In light of all the controversy surrounding the Terri Schiavo case, I decided it was a good idea to set up a healthcare directive. I have a program that basically does it all for you - you just have to answer a couple yes or no questions and...poof! just like that, a legal document appears. I just have to print it, sign it (with witnesses) and I'm all set.

It seems a little morbid to answer that I would like all food and water withheld in the case that I am terminally ill or permanently unconscious, but I didn't really have any trouble with that question. If I'm going to die anyway, why prolong it for decades? The next question was a little trickier - do I want pain control and comfort procedures even if it means prolonging my life? Hmmm... well, I think yes. What if by some slim chance I were able to feel pain? I certainly wouldn't want to just lie there feeling pain, right? But isn't there a loophole here? Couldn't someone argue that starvation would be prohibited if my directive included all comfort care? Thus making questions 1 & 2 contradictory? Anyhow, lastly, there was a question about what to do if I'm pregnant at the time - should my directive apply or not? My answer to that one is no - if you could keep me alive long enough to have the baby, that'd be better, right? Or would it? A baby with a dead mother? Eeesh.

Voila!

My wishes may be summarized as follows:

If I am terminally ill, I direct that:

• the artificial administration of food and water be withheld.

• all comfort care be provided, even if it would also have the effect of prolonging my life.

• all additional life-prolonging procedures be withheld, including: blood and blood products, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), diagnostic tests, dialysis, drugs, respirator and surgery.

If I am permanently unconscious, I direct that:

• the artificial administration of food and water be withheld.

• all comfort care be provided, even if it would also have the effect of prolonging my life.

• all additional life-prolonging procedures be withheld, including: blood and blood products, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), diagnostic tests, dialysis, drugs, respirator and surgery.

If I am pregnant, I direct that my Document Directing Healthcare be given no effect during the course of my pregnancy.

3 Comments:

At 12:41 AM, March 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're a vegetable, I doubt you'd feel hunger pains while hopped up on morphine. Hopefully neither of us will ever have to find this out firsthand.

If my family keeps me alive artificially, I'm coming back from the dead to give them a swift kick in the ass. Every year I remind my relatives to unplug me if I become nothing more than a body taking up space with nothing going on in my brain.

Erin

 
At 3:46 PM, March 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mom says "Thank you for doing this."

 
At 10:09 PM, April 02, 2005, Anonymous Mark B said...

hi anne,
my korean mom, who recently spent Easter dinner discussing terri and co. with the rest of my Catholic family, told me adamantly yesterday to "PULL THE PLUG," if she's ever incapacitated.

The rest of the family is staunchly pro(long)-life, but ironically I was in DC while the politically-charged conversation took place in the beautiful blue Berkshires.

 

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