Thursday, November 20, 2008

The need for a living will

Have a living will in place and make it specific as to what your wishes are, in case you're involved in an accident leaving you dependent on life support. If you don't, you leave open the possibility of physical and financial stress on loved ones by putting family against family when they disagree on treatments, etc.

This conflict, is becoming increasingly common as science extends its ability to prolong life.

"Increasingly so -- over the past few years as technology allows us to keep people alive with more complex medical situations for longer -- I think we're seeing more really difficult end-of-life type cases," said Dr. Jeff Blackmer, executive director, office of ethics, for the Canadian Medical Association, which represents 65,000 doctors.

"Our viewpoint is that we want to make sure that clinical decisions are left to physicians and not judges," he added. "These decisions are not made lightly and they're not made in haste, and they're not made with anything except the best interest of that individual patient at heart."

"The family sees it as when there is life there is hope. He is breathing, his brain functions, he holds their hands," Neil Kravetsky, the family's lawyer, told the Canadian Broadcast Corporation.

To avoid conflicts, court cases, added stress and financial hardship that are common with these kinds of conflicts, it is imperative that we have a living will stating our requests in such situations.

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