A Patient Advocate's View

Another Terry Schiavo case.

When signing your health care advanced directives, make sure you discuss your preferences with the person you name your health care proxy. I have a questionnaire for the person you are thinking of naming as your health proxy. It can help you both to decide if they will be prepared and likely to honor your wishes. Many times, when the questions are posed, both people realize that they have conflicting views, and it may be better to choose someone other than your closest relative. A recent example is a woman who had a debilitating condition that was likely to become life threatening in the near future. She did not want to have unusual measures employed if only to keep her alive when there was no hope of her living her life outside of a nursing home bed. When we used the questionnaire, it became clear that her brother, whom she had named as the health proxy, did not believe in removing life support under any circumstances. Once this was brought to light, the woman asked her niece, who is an attorney if she would be able to do it, and she agreed. Imagine having to fight your own family when you are so sick.

In the case of SungEun Grace Lee, I think the courts considered that the young woman was still able to make her own decisions and so the health proxy was over-ridden by her own wishes.

October 7, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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