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Living Wills

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         Views: 1662
2006-11-12 21:20:46     
Article by Marcus Peterson

Living wills are documents that contain the wishes and desires of people regarding their medical treatment in the event of their being unable to correspond with their doctors and relatives due to incapacitation. Also known as advance health care directives, living wills are legal instruments that have been signed by witnesses and notarized. A living will is enforced when the medical experts are absolutely certain that there are no possibilities for the renewal or revitalization of a person's health and that death is sure to occur sooner or later.

Each patient may have his or her own criteria for deciding whether or not to continue medical treatment in a situation where recovery from a serious illness has been ruled out by medical experts. Some may believe in the continuance of life as an important prerogative, even if they do not expect a change for the better in their health condition. Others may have a preference for being relatively more comfortable in their last days, without having to endure much pain, even if it means limiting the longevity of their lives. The decision to carry on with life supporting measures or making the choice to remove them is usually mentioned as directives in a living will.

Often, a living will may not be implemented, especially when the contents of the will are ambivalent. To ensure that a living will is implemented, all relevant information should be explicitly mentioned.

It is advisable that people should have a living will, regardless of their age. To understand the implications of the medical conditions and terminology, a doctor should be consulted and a second opinion sought, if necessary. A living will leaves considerable room for revaluation and reassessment, in case a person changes his mind. It can be revised, reviewed and also be withdrawn any time.

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