January 5, 2006
The irony of promoting living willsTopics: Living Wills
The most significant sentence in this entire article is the last one:
Most states, Washington and Idaho included, do not require hospitals and doctors to comply with the directives in every situation.Consider a situation in which a patient has a written directive, declaring that their medical treatment desires are in favor of survival and life-prolonging treatment. In most states, can a doctor, a hospital ethics committee or a nursing home risk management department now deny those treatments under 'certain circumstances'?
I find it ironic that living wills are so heavily marketed as the solution for these debates when this article admits, in closing, that they aren't. I can't help but think about Leslie Burke in UK who fought in court for the enforcement of his own advanced directive - directing that nutrition and hydration be continued if or when his disease leaves him unable to communicate. Ultimately, it was treated by the courts as an illegitimate concern. I rather suspect if Mr. Burke had a living will directing the withdrawal of those provision, he would never have heard a peep out of anyone. It would have been thought of as legitimate and his right.
To me, this says: "If you want to check out, we're behind you 100%. But, if you want to have a go at life, you're on your own." And that's no way to treat someone who is at the mercy of others.
Source: Pamela Hennessy
Posted by tim at January 5, 2006 8:10 PM
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