Most people probably do not think about serious medical conditions or the end of their life on a regular basis. And if you are young, you may not consider what would happen if an emergency left you unable to make medical decisions for yourself.
Medical providers typically ask their patients a variety of questions related to their current condition. In some cases, they may wonder whether you have an advance health care directive. Although you may be under the impression that you do not need one, consider the choices your loved ones may otherwise have to make on your behalf.
Three things you can predetermine about your medical attention
Creating an advance health care directive allows you to inform others about your preferred medical care. Putting your wishes in writing also allows you the opportunity to designate someone to act on your behalf, should that become necessary.
As you put your wishes in writing, some of the things you might be wise to consider include:
- Would you want doctors to put you on a ventilator to help you breathe, and if so, for how long?
- If your heart stops, do you want to be resuscitated, or would this be your desire only under specific circumstances?
- Should a surgeon insert a feeding tube into your stomach if you can no longer eat?
Thinking about what your life would be like with a catastrophic injury or illness can be devastating. However, establishing your preferred lifesaving measures can help medical professionals respect your wishes.
Realistically, you may find any situation in which those closest to you would have to refer to your directive unconscionable. At the same time, at least you can protect them from a lifetime of questioning whether they made the right choice regarding your care.