Monday, February 9, 2015

Betchya didn't know food and water are considered medical care

One of my daily reads is Survivalblog.  They had a short article today from a person who identifies them self as a medical doctor in critical care.

Hugh:
The author of this article recommends a Living Will. These documents often express a patient’s wishes not to be kept alive by artificial means. Your readers should be aware that food and water are now considered medical care in all 50 states, rather than normal care of the sick. That means that people who sign Living Wills may be unwittingly authorizing their own starvation and dehydration. It is far better to express your wishes about medical treatment to a loved one whom you trust and instead sign a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. That gives your loved one the ability to insure the best care for you in light of the specific medical circumstances. – Critical Care M.D.   (Bold added by ERJ)

It pays to read the fine print.  It is possible to cross off text in pre-printed documents, date and initial the crossed-off text.  It is also possible to add text, date and initial the additional wording.  The risk is that nobody will actually look at the document because they think they "know" what it says...at least they know what the hospital's pre-printed document says.

This is probably a case where it is worth the money to have the Living Will printed on Law Firm letterhead.  Even if it is mostly the same text as the hospital's Living WWill the letterhead will force them to read it.  Any additions can be highlighted with bold or underlining.

Any redactions should be stated in the positive and should be written as a stand-alone paragraph to call attention to the fact that you are deviating from the common, default text.  Example:

It is the desire of John Smedley Wockenfuss that John Smedley Wockenfuss be fed foods and liquids that are consumed orally.  It is the desire of John Smedley Wockenfuss that he be assisted in the oral consumption of foods and liquids if he is not able to hold straws and/or tableware. "Oral consumption" in this document is to be considered foods and liquids that are consumed by placement in the mouth and not delivered to the esophagus or stomach via a tube.

You pay your money and you take your chances.

2 comments:

  1. Huh, I hadn't caught THAT little caveat... sigh... Back to the drawing board...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Huh, I hadn't caught THAT little caveat... sigh... Back to the drawing board...

    ReplyDelete