When an elderly person is extremely ill and unlikely to survive, it is time for doctors and family to discuss how long the patient should be kept alive. It is not an easy conversation for anyone involved.
In recent years, medical science has made tremendous advances. People can now be kept alive far longer than they ever could at any other time in history.
While that is generally good, it does have some drawbacks.
Many of the people that medical science can keep alive today, have no chance of ever making a full recovery and returning to a normal life. Instead, keeping them alive means keeping them on life support in a hospital, often in great pain, indefinitely.
Recently, an anonymous doctor wrote about how difficult it can be in these situations to talk to patients about whether it is time to go.
The article appeared in The Guardian with the title "My patient is 93 and has pneumonia. It's time to talk about her death."
Most of the time, the uncomfortable conversations mentioned in the article can be avoided by doing some advance planning.
Advance medical directives, including living wills and health care powers of attorney, make it possible for people to give directions regarding when doctors should no longer keep them alive and who should make any medical decisions, if there are any to make.
With advance medical directives, you can make decisions now while you are still able and avoid the pain of having others make them later.
Many Cincinnati estate planning attorneys offer advance medical directives as a matter of course in estate planning. Talk to one today.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your estate plans or when probating an estate or administering a trust, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage a Cincinnati estate planning attorney.
For more information about estate planning, probate or trust administration in Cincinnati (and throughout the rest of Southwest Ohio) and to review free resources regarding estate planning, probate or trust administration, visit my website. If you have questions regarding this article or a particular legal matter, feel free to contact me at 513-399-PLAN (7526).
Reference: The Guardian (July 6, 2017) "My patient is 93 and has pneumonia. It's time to talk about her death."