Do Not Resuscitate

In a news article from USA Today, an unconscious 70-year-old man was rushed to the emergency room. When he arrived, he had no identification, and no one with him. What he did have was a tattoo across his chest that said, “Do Not Resuscitate”. His tattoo even included his signature. This put the emergency room doctors in an ethical dilemma. Do you honor the tattoo and let the man die or do you save him?

The creative, outside-of-the-box thinking demonstrated by this gentleman underscores the importance of having properly executed estate planning documents, and especially an advance directive.

The Strength Behind a Power of Attorney

When it comes to a power of attorney and advanced planning, you should sit down regularly with your trusted loved ones and discuss not only your intentions but also your potential financial and medical needs. It can be a difficult conversation for both parties, but it’s vital that anyone involved in carrying out your intentions knows and understands your wishes and will act on your behalf. You should then document your preferences, so no one is left wondering, like in the article above.

Health Care Power of Attorney

When it comes down to naming someone to make any health care decisions on your behalf, there are three main types of health care directives to consider. Those include:
Living Will – This indicates your wants about life-sustaining treatments. The more detail in the living will, the better. Would you want life-sustaining interventions like cardiac resuscitation or tube feeding? Would you want artificial life support removed if you’re found to be irreversibly brain dead? These are all things that should be considered and put into your living will.
Health Care Power of Attorney – This allows the person you have named to make health care decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to speak for yourself. A health care power of attorney is more flexible than a living will. It’s impossible to predict every medical situation that may come up in your life and your exact preferences for each situation.
Advance Directive – This is basically a combination of both a living will and a health care power of attorney. This document indicates both your health care preferences as well as an agent to make additional health care decisions for you. This is usually the best option for someone who has strong preferences regarding their end-of-life care and someone they trust to make health care decisions for them.

Advanced planning can help spare your family from having to make difficult decisions on your behalf without input and direction from you. These decisions usually come on short notice and when people are in a state of emotional distress. It’s important to make these decisions while you are thinking clearly and you’re healthy. Make sure your wishes are carried out the way you want them with advanced planning. 

We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.

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Osage Beach, MO  65065


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