What is a Living Will
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What happens when a person suffers from an illness or an accident that renders
them incapable of deciding their own course of treatment? It is a scenario which
occurs more often than one might expect; there are various diseases which strip
away the power of speech and even consciousness long before they actually claim
the body, and of course most people are well aware of the potential injuries
from various types of accidents.
In a case where a person's health has been affected to the point where they
can no longer give direction to medical personal about their wishes, there are
only two options. The first is that the medial personnel must make the treatment
decision; this is not preferred in a case where a patient wishes to avoid a
lifetime in a vegetative state, or certain types of treatment. The other option
is a living will.
A living will sets out a specific course of action in the event that a person
suffers to the extent that they can no longer say their desired course of
action. A living will may either directly state what treatments are or are not
acceptable to the patient, or they may appoint a health proxy, a person who
determines the course of action for the patient.
It's important to understand that living wills do not come into effect with
any accident where a person loses consciousness; they are only applied when
their condition is thought to be irreversible. This might make one think that
the living will is pretty cut and dried, but in some cases it is not as clear as
we would like it to be; a coma as a result of a car accident, for example, may
in fact be recovered from, although medical statistics would demonstrate this
does not happen very often.
The upshot of the living will is that it ensures that a person retains power
over their life or death even when they can no longer communicate for
themselves. It also means that the decision over termination or continuance is
taken out of the hands of people who care for the patient; the decision is
For those people in particular with religious beliefs concerning treatment, a
living will can be very important. Living wills can forbid medical personnel
from attempting certain revival techniques, and they can also provide an escape
for those with terminal, pain causing illnesses.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-01-08 21:47:29 in Legal Articles