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living wills


morgan617
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:) This Terri Schiavo case has been so sad. As a nurse I have seen so much dissention in families caused by people not knowing what to do out of fear, guilt, love, whatever. I urge all of you to get a living will, so your families /or you don't have to go through this kind of pain. I think I may get thrown off for advertising, but if you go to Five Wishes on the web, you can order one for 5 bucks apiece. This is NOT a death signing! It covers anything you may or may not want, from everything on earth that can be done, to nothing. It even includes whether you want visitors or music or anything. It was made I believe by a doctor who realized many people were not getting what they wanted, either way. This is to protect your rights and to save your family, or you as, EVERYONE needs one, not just sick people. Terri didn't expect a heart attack at 29, but there you go, she got one. And look at this mess. Regardless of your feelings about her case, please realize you wouldn't want this for you or anyone you loved. Okay, off the soapbox. morgan
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Just wanted to add that not only is a living will critically important, but ALSO a durable power of attorney, with at least one or two people who KNOW your specific wishes, and are willing to carry them out in the event that YOU CANNOT. The durable isn't like your signing over your life, it simply means if you are incapaciated that you have entrusted someone to carry out the wishes you desired.

I actually put both of these in place after learning about Terri Schiavo 2 years ago, I really feel for her, and her family, but would never want to be in her situation.

Take Care

-Steph

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Teri and I have had living wills and powers of attorney for about 6 years now--we decided it was important to make sure our wishes were honoured if something should happen to either of us. When we bought our home it dawned on us that because we're not married, if something happened that incapaciated one of us, or caused our death, our family members, or worse, the government, would get half of the ownership of our home... that provoked the discussion about the "what if's" of medical problems.

We hired an attorney to work with us on the paperwork--as I recall, it wasn't expensive. We have special wording in our mortgage, we have living wills and powers of attorney...and we had several of our neighbors as wittnesses while we signed--and then they signed as wittnesses.

Nina

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Ernie, in the US the Terri Schiavo case is at the top of most news stories lately, so if you want detail you can go to www.msnbc.com; likewise abc.com; cnn.com; and cbs.com probably all have the same info.

Terri had a sudden heart attack 15 years ago, and has been brain damaged ever since; she's been kept alive with the help of liquid nutrition, i.e. a feeding tube; her husband says she told him if anything ever happened she would not want to be a "vegetable"; her family disagrees and doesn't believe him, so the case has gone to many courts, BECAUSE TERRI HAD NO LIVING WILL OR DURABLE P.O.A. since her wishes were NEVER expressed in writing, it is now a matter of her husband and close friends' words over her family's.

Twice before she has had the feeding tube reinserted. It was pulled out again on Friday and now the U.S. government is trying to step in and pass a law that would save her, it has been 15 years that she's been like this, doctors say she probably has zero chance of recovery, and is in a permanently vegetative state. Her family believes she has a chance at getting better.

This is a very tragic case for everyone involved, and while I personally would never want to be like her, it's impossible to know because she didn't have anything in writing. Her family lost yet another appeal to reinsert the tube, and they are basically grabbing at straws at this point. She will die of starvation--though doctors think she cannot feel her body shutting down; in days to maybe 2 or 3 weeks if the tube isn't put back in. Personally I wish poor Terri would go home to God, and hopefully her suffering will end. But those are just my views.

Take Care

-Steph

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Thanks Steph for explaining the story.

I personally don't have a living will but I think I should. I would never want to live as a "vegetable". When I went to NIH I signed one that was active only for my stay.

This woman, Terri, it's so sad what happened to her.

Ernie

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My husband and I also have Health Care Declarations (I think that's what they now call a Living Will) and Durable Power of Attorney for each other as well. You need to make sure that someone else in the family has a copy of the Health Care Declaration and also they suggest that you take a copy with you when you travel (I keep ours with the passports).

My parents were vacationing down South and my Dad had an Abdominal Aoretic Aneurysm (sp?) and went into a vegetative state. The rules get really tricky because once you insert life support elements it is difficult to remove them but you need to insert them to make sure you are giving the person every chance to recover. That's why it is so important to document your wishes. In our case, the siblings were not in agreement as to what to do but we did agree that it was my Mom's decision. It has caused a rift in the family that still simmers 7 years later.

So please, for your family's sake and so that they don't have to wonder if they are doing the right thing, put your wishes (whatever they are) in writing. It is difficult enough without having to second guess your actions.

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This topic is near and dear to my heart in light of my grandmother's recent passing. She had a stroke and was severely incapacitated from it (needing a feeding tube and couldn't speak at all), so we were thankful that she had a living will, although it was still an incredibly hard decision to make. It's never easy.

I highly recommend the 5 Wishes booklet. It helps you outline how you want to be cared for should you become ill or incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes. http://www.agingwithdignity.org/5wishes.html

(It's considered a legal document in most states. It will serve as additional supporting documentation in those states where it doesn't meet all of their legal requirements.)

Five Wishes lets your family and doctors know:

Which person you want to make health care decisions for you when you can't make them.

The kind of medical treatment you want or don't want.

How comfortable you want to be.

How you want people to treat you.

What you want your loved ones to know

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