Saturday, January 10, 2009

A public service announcement

Get those advance directives going! I have had an update on the law in my state, and, given that the update comes from a physician board certified in hospice and palliative care who has practiced for a long time here, it's well worth repeating.

Here's the thing: in my state, if you become incapacitated and do not either designate a medical durable power of attorney or leave advance directives, things get very complicated. What your doctors are required to do is contact those closest to you and ask them to name a party to act on your behalf. A consensus is not required, the physician explained, but an election is.

Think carefully about this. Are your closest relatives close at all? Is ANY of them a person you'd like to have acting on your behalf? Would you feel guilty imposing that responsibility on them? Or, in a darker scenario, is the one most likely to be elected the one least likely to know what you'd want? Family dynamics are complicated, I'm just saying.

And if you have no directives, no MDPOA, and no one can be found to act for you? DOCTORS will. Often, the doctors caring for you in this situation will be doctors who don't know you at all, and won't have (and shouldn't be expected to have) any idea what your values are and what you would want done for you.

Get to work on those directives. Attach them to your fridge with a magnet. Better yet, tattoo them on your body. In more than one place.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home