End of life, persistent vegetative state, living wills. All the controversy and conflicts that have been a part of the Terry Schiavo case has had the country and lawmakers in an uproar.
When there is no hope of recovery, or when there is no chance of survival, why can’t people let go and give in to the inevitable. It is understandable that parents do not want to see their children die. They think that they will be gone first.
Decisions at a time like this are hard to make, made even harder by the hustle and bustle of hospitals, doctors and professionals that are giving their opinions in such a hurry. You may not have much time to think about your decisions and are not in a good state of mind to do this.
It is hard to trust medical experts when you are in this type of situation, your loved one is the one they are talking about.
But these things happen. Children get sick and get diseases. Accidents happen and loved ones die. But why can’t people let the one closest to them make those decisions. In this case, why couldn’t the parents let the husband who has been closer to her make those decisions.
They didn’t want to let go. It is understandable that they wanted to have their daughter get better. I cannot begin to understand the pain and suffering her family has gone through but I know how it could have been stopped. They could have abided by her wishes and let her go.
Her husband said time and again that she had talked about this specific topic with him and what she wanted done. But the parents had wanted what they thought was best for them and her.
It has now been proven scientifically that she had the problems that the original doctors were saying. In this case, she was gone and her body just didn’t know it. I’m sure that there is other cases in the past and will be more in the future like this.
There is a way that you can prevent this from happening to you and your loved ones. The indecision and second guessing about what you want done if this kind of thing happens to you can be corrected before it happens.
It’s called a living will.
A Living Will is a legal document in which you state the kind of health care you want or don’t want under certain circumstances.
This is taken from the website U.S. Living Will Registry.
The website has frequently asked questions about living wills, organ donation, advanced directives and other legal things involving decisions you can make now before something happens and you cannot communicate your wishes about your care.
It is a simple thing, you make known legally, by a lawyer or registering on their site what you want done in case you are in an accident or some such event. To get a living will, you need to do some paper work and talk to your loved ones about it. Let them know what you want done and then do one of the things to get it in writing so there is no second guessing about your wishes.
At the website for the U.S. Living Will Registry you can find information about where to go or you can use their site to get your will or other legal work done for these types of cases.
You sometimes can get free wills by lawyers and others. In the military you can get yours done at your base legal office. There are free lawyer clinics all over that may be able to help. Especially near universities that have law schools.
The website for the U.S. Living Will Registry will take you step by step through their process of getting a living will, organ donor card or advanced directive. If you use them, it is free, but you will need to find a community partner or other local organization to go through to register your Living Will. This can be a group clinic, hospital, or community organization that is participating in the program.
There is a search at bottom of the register page. http://uslivingwillregistry.com/register.shtm
If you can’t find one by the search you can use a toll free number to talk to someone about this.
The American Bar Association also has information on this topic.
This is a toolkit that is a good starting place for an advanced directive. An advance directive tells your doctor what kind of care you would like to have if you become unable to make medical decisions.
In the case of Terry Schiavo, a living will would have changed the outcome of her case, and maybe make all the people involved understand her wishes and what she wanted done in a case like this.
You too can make this decision and have your loved ones know what you want done in case you are unable to communicate with those around you.
The American Bar Associations toolkit is not an advanced directive in itself. It is a toolkit for you to use to make the decisions and talk to others about your wishes and help you start in the right direction for getting this paperwork done for you. You will need to see a lawyer or others that can finish the process. And it will probably cost you some money.
But this can prevent further problems for your loved ones in the future if this every happens to you. You can prevent your loved ones from further indecision, worry and pain if you are injured, sick or unable to communicate. This simple step can help them help you.
Another thing that you can make a decision on in advance of a terrible accident or incapacitating injury is organ donation.
Each day, about 74 people receive an organ transplant. However, 17 people die each day waiting for transplants that can’t take place because of the shortage of donated organs.
If you want to help others in a way that can make a legacy of your life continue after you are gone you can donate organs to others.
At the website www.Organdonor.gov you can find information, download and print an organ donor card to let people know you want to have organs donated to help others when you die.
This can help so many others live life to the fullest. As of my writing this story on June 16th 2005, there are 88,595 people waiting for organ donations across the united states.
You can help out at least one if not more of these people.
Many people don’t want to think about, much less talk about their dying. But it is inevitable, we live and some day we will die. You can help your loved ones if things happen to you and you cannot make your wishes known before hand.
Living wills, advanced directives and organ donation are things that need to be discussed and talked about as well as written down and notarized or signed by legal representatives to make your wishes carried out.
Please talk to your loved ones. Make your wishes known in advance. And get it in writing.