Essay Title: 

Living Wills

April 2, 2016 | Author: | Posted in health and medicine, healthcare

In the days before antibiotics , pneumonia usually meant a death sentence for a frail , bedridden old person . The discovery of antibiotics changed all that – all brought with it some uncomfortable choices . Here is a real life example (Mark Fairweather , Rosy B UK 2003

We can take following interview as a case study that clears the concept of living will up to certain extent . My father had suffered a severe stroke . He was paralyzed incontinent , unable to communicate . Then he developed pneumonia . The doctors could cure his pneumonia with antibiotics , but Dad would remain [banner_entry_middle]

br helpless and bedridden for the rest of his life

Dad would hate that , and I told the doctor so . This was in the days before anyone talked about living wills , but Dad had once written me a letter setting out his views about life and death . It was a thoughtful loving letter and I carried it about with family photographs in my wallet . I showed Dad ‘s letter to the doctor .Dad was beautifully cared for , but he was not given antibiotics . He died peacefully and with dignity , just as he had hoped to

This was someone who had made his wishes known beforehand and , when the time came , had them granted . That is what living wills are about . It is your decision

In general , sick people are entitled to refuse treatment for themselves Treatment requires consent where the patient is able to give it . In most cases , health professionals cannot legally examine or treat any adult without his or her valid consent . It is unlawful and unethical to treat a person who is capable of understanding and willing to know , without first explaining the nature of the procedure , its purpose and implications and obtaining that person ‘s agreement (British Medical Association

An adult who has mental capacity has a legal right

To receive information about his /her condition and options for medical treatment

To decide for him /her whether to consent to treatment or as long as no one else is put at risk , to refuse it

Conversely , a doctor who persists with medical treatment against your known wishes may be guilty of assault . A living will is an advance refusal of medical treatment (but not basic care ) that you intend to have effect if and when

You lack the physical capacity to communicate your refusal

You lack the mental capacity to refuse treatment and in either case

Your quality of life is very poor

There is no hope of recovery or even significant improvement

A living will however can take various forms including

A statement made by someone in good health , typically written a long time in advance to cover all conceivable future eventualities

A statement made by a sick person , whose illness may be terminal . A statement in these circumstances may be better informed , more realistic more relevant and more specific than one made from a perspective of rude health

A statement of personal life and death values – but this may place a considerable… [banner_entry_footer]

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