Disease, injury, or illness can cause some people to lose the ability to communicate their…
Where Do You Draw the Line?
The Covid-19 epidemic, particularly prompts a wrenching question: in the event of a life-threatening illness, how far would you want to go to prolong the life of someone you love?
These questions are particularly poignant for those of us who are more vulnerable – seniors, those with compromised immune systems, those already struggling with the conditions. People are familiar with DNR orders, or “do not resuscitate.” These are used when someone is in cardiac arrest. However, the threat posed by the current virus involves respiratory problems more often. The longer one stays on a ventilator, the greater the chance of permanent disability, disability, or death.
Many are dying alone, without their loved one’s present. The New York Times recently reported on a particularly heartbreaking case.
Most people over sixty with a serious illness say they would prefer to be kept in comfort at the end, even if that care shortens life. But where to draw the line? How much time alive would you be willing to sacrifice, to decline aggressive treatment and die sooner? The need to provide at least some answers is important not just for you. Clinicians and caregivers need guidance, too.
A 2017 study showed that approximately two-thirds of Americans had neglected to provide prior guidance by creating advance healthcare directives like health care powers of attorney and living wills. Back then, most of us could not have imagined being in an epidemic like the one now.
Even if you or your loved ones have already done the responsible thing and created advance directives, now is the time to review those documents to make sure they reflect what you want under current conditions.
Healthcare providers are ethically obligated to do everything feasible to keep us alive. If we have no advance directives in place, the system will take over – and families can end up in long-lasting anguish for having had to be the ones to make the final call. Don’t let that happen. Think through the question for yourself and talk with a person whom you trust to make that decision for you if necessary. Call us for your advance health care directives – and may you and yours not need them for a good long while. Please contact us at our Forty Fort Pennsylvania office or give us a call at 570-288-1800.