For many people, Terri Schiavo was the face of an emotional struggle over the right to live and the right to die. It sparked a heated global debate and inspired even the most apolitical citizens to take a stand.
Last Will and Testament and Living Will
The point in the controversy over the Florida Woman who lay comatose while her husband struggled to withdraw and her parents struggled to continue life support is all too common and all to avoidable. It’s a struggle that doesn’t have to happen.
In a Living Will you can give information about what kind of decisions you wnt to be made in various situations and you can state whether you would want to have life support terminated, withheld, or withdrawn if you get into a terminal stage of a terminal illnes, an irreversable coma, or a progressive condition in which the burdens of treatment are greater than the potential benefits.
And in a health care proxy which can be included in a Living Will you can designate someone to make health care decisions for you if you can’t make or communicate your own decisions.
In short, creating an advance directive for health care is about caring for those who care for you. It’s a way to make dure your wishes will be honoured and avoid burdening family members with the emotional stress of having to guess what health care decisions you would have made.
You people don’t expect to need an advanced directive until old age. But critical health care decisions don’t always wait. Everyone needs a Living Will and they need to make one long before they anticipate health problems. You can’t authorize someone to make health care decisions for you if you can’t sign the piece of paper youirself. You have to do a health care directive while you’re competent.
Why Do People Avoid A Living Will?
Many neglect to create Living Wills because they are unaware of the urgency, others may avoid it out of a fear of confronting unsettling issues. We go through life liking to have as much control as possible over our bodies and our minds. Creating a Living Will means contemplating a loss of autonomy and independence which we all value. So to think of being in that kind of cognitive state is very disquieting, very anxiety arousing. It really representss helplessness, extreme vulnerability and a loss of control. Not to mention that contemplating dyig means a loss of connections to all our loved ones.
Thinking aboutr death also brings up tough philosophical questions that many people are afraid to consider.
A Living Will Does Not Contemplate Incapacity
Many people experience disconfort when thinking about topics like death and diability. But discussing your wishes with loved ones and documenting them in a Living Will will bring peace of mind to everyone involved.
Face it squarely, and don’t shrink from discussing it. The aim is to get everything settled in advance.