That is the start of a great post by Dr. Eric Widera at the blog Geripal. What a dilemma, huh? Dr. Widera, a palliative care and geriatrics specialist at UCSF, does an excellent job using this setup to dissect the recent journal article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Lost in Translation: The Unintended Consequences of Advance Directive Law on Clinical Care.
Imagine that you are caring for Ted, a patient in hospice who would like to go from Los Angeles to Michigan to see his family one last time. His same-sex partner opens up to you that he is worried about what would happen if Ted became sick while in Michigan, as his family there are very religious and don’t necessarily agree with Ted's end-of-life wishes. Not to worry, you say, Ted has a valid advance directive that his same-sex partner is his health care agent. Then you pause and think. Hmmm… Maybe there is something to worry about.
- Inadequate reciprocal recognition among states
- Restricting surrogate decision makers
- Poor readability
- Burdensome requirements to complete advance directives
- Religious/social/cultural concerns
- Image via Wikipedia
- First, make sure you have a discussion with the people most likely to make medical decisions for you.
- Second, document your wishes and values in writing with any of the legally valid and easy to read/complete tools linked from this site.
- Third, give copies to your doctors and have a discussion with them about your wishes.