This specifically pertains to the medical aspect of the treatment that these people wish to receive. This document is very important because it allows those people around the ailing patient to respect the wishes of the latter as to whether or not he still wants to undergo further treatment or to just be left alone after a certain procedure without submitting to other treatments. For example, a patient can specify that after a heart attack he do not want to be revived anymore. This living will allows a person to experience fully his freedom and right to live.
Although there may be other groups who would argue that there are ethical considerations to this, the validity of the living will has been held upheld. Thus, living wills which carry the wishes of a patient should be respected and followed. A living will may also contain wishes such as what organs to donate after the death of a person and to whom these organs should be given. The manner by which a living will comes into existence begins wherein a person who has the legal capacity to contract, meaning he should be of age would write down his desires, instructions or wishes pertaining to the medical treatment that he would like to receive.
The person would then name a specific individual tasked to carry out these desires in the event that the patient is in no position to verbally communicate these matters. The contents of a living will could be motivated by different factors. For instance, the will may contain an instruction that the patient does not want to receive any major operation in connection with his sickness because of budget or financial constraints. The other factors may also be emotional, age or physical considerations.
A person who has no living relative or family member can easily decide to refuse seeking further medical treatment since there can be the thought that he or she has no reason for living. Further a patient who is in his early 20s would also decide differently from a patient in his late 70s. From these concepts, we can get the idea that living wills are not necessarily associated with death or old age. Living wills are executed in anticipation of a worse case scenario where a person is unable to communicate what he wants to be done with his health.
The situation of sickness, death or accident chooses no one, thus, it is best to be prepared for any contingency through a living will. The execution of a living will is also a big help in the event that the family has to make a life or death situation for a family member (CBC News Online. March 22, 2005. Living Wills: FAQs. Retrieved on May 5, 2009 from website http://www. cbc. ca/news/background/wills/). For example, the patient can put in the will a provision that the family can decide to take away any life support machines for the patient.
This would be a big relief on the part of the family since they would not be burdened with any guilt or hang ups regarding their loved one. It would also be a big help to go through a consultation with a doctor before writing a living will so that there would be a thorough analysis of the evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of the possible consequences of the will. It would be a big help to have the guidance of a professional so that there would be no room for error in the future.
The execution of a living will varies from that of a last will and testament since these are two different and unrelated documents. They can exist independent of the other for they have different subject matters. The state and federal guidelines contains provisions regarding the documentation of living wills. As I have previously mentioned, living wills are valid documents, thus they are recognized and accepted under the law. A copy of the living will should be given to the doctor and to the family.
The United States has a registry of living wills that can be accessed through telephone. These living wills are also given to the health care providers so that they would have a copy of it and this would also give them the opportunity to study as to whether or not the provisions contained thereof can be carried out by their company. In the event that the health care provider cannot carry out the wishes of the person for the reason that their state does not allow it or otherwise, then the doctor or person concerned should be immediately informed.
It is a basic principle that all contracts or documents must be in accordance with valid and existing laws, thus, if the provisions of the will are contrary to the existing laws of a state then the health care provider can validly refuse to execute them. If the health care provider or doctor is amenable to the provisions thereof then the will of the patient would have to be followed. The living will would now form part of the records of the health care provider, the doctor or the hospital for proper documentation.
This presupposes that the living will was validly made by the patient in that the latter signed it or asked a representative to sign it for him, it was witnessed and other steps were taken for the validity thereof. It is the duty of the healthcare provider to look for another company who would be willing to carry out the wishes of the patient. A living will can also be revoked or changed to be patterned after any event that may take place.
1. Evans, Daniel. 1992. Pennsylvania Advance Directives for Healthcare. The Pennsylvania Estate and Trust Cybrary. Retrieved on May 5, 2009 from website http://evans-legal. com/dan/padhc. html. 2. Understanding Advance Directives for Health Care. Retrieved on May 5, 2009 from website http://www. aging. state. pa. us/aging/lib/aging/Advance_Directives_brochure1. pdf. 3. The North American Registry of Living Wills. Living Wills. Retrieved on May 5, 2009 from website http://www. livingwill. com/. 4. CBC News Online. March 22, 2005. Living Wills: FAQs. Retrieved on May 5, 2009 from website http://www. cbc. ca/news/background/wills/.