3/25/2005

Schiavo

I have purposely avoided this topic both because it is beyond the scope of this blog, and because I don't know enough about it.

The Tribune editorial today was right on the money. If you don't want it to happen to you, get a living will. You can't make it any easier than this. Below is the statutory form. Fill it out. Sign it. Have it witnessed by two unrelated adults:

DECLARATION

If I should have an incurable or irreversible condition that, without the administration of life-sustaining treatment, will, in the opinion of my attending physician or attending advanced practice registered nurse, cause my death within a relatively short time and I am no longer able to make decisions regarding my medical treatment, I direct my attending physician or attending advanced practice registered nurse, pursuant to the Montana Rights of the Terminally Ill Act, to withhold or withdraw treatment that only prolongs the process of dying and is not necessary to my comfort or to alleviate pain.
Signed this ____ day of _________, ____.
Signature _____________
City, County, and State of Residence ____________________
The declarant voluntarily signed this document in my presence.
Witness__________________________________
Address__________________________________
Witness__________________________________
Address__________________________________

If you prefer that someone else be allowed to make decisions for you, use this form:

DECLARATION

If I should have an incurable and irreversible condition that, without the administration of life-sustaining treatment, will, in the opinion of my attending physician or attending advanced practice registered nurse, cause my death within a relatively short time and I am no longer able to make decisions regarding my medical treatment, I appoint __________ or, if he or she is not reasonably available or is unwilling to serve, __________, to make decisions on my behalf regarding withholding or withdrawal of treatment that only prolongs the process of dying and is not necessary for my comfort or to alleviate pain, pursuant to the Montana Rights of the Terminally Ill Act.
If the individual I have appointed is not reasonably available or is unwilling to serve, I direct my attending physician or attending advanced practice registered nurse, pursuant to the Montana Rights of the Terminally Ill Act, to withhold or withdraw treatment that only prolongs the process of dying and is not necessary for my comfort or to alleviate pain.
Signed this ____ day of _________, ____.
Signature____________________________
City, County, and State of Residence______________________
The declarant voluntarily signed this document in my presence.
Witness____________________________
Address________________________
Witness________________________
Address________________________
Name and address of designee.
Name__________________________
Address_______________________

Give the form to your doctor, and he or she will make it part of your medical record. If your doctor is unwilling to comply with your directive, he or she is obligated to notify you of that fact.

If you have any questions, please contact your attorney. The foregoing is not legal advice, but is merely a reiteration of Montana Statute.

1 comment:

SallyT said...

I've been contemplating this...but, after seeing the outrageous miscarriage of justice in Terri's case, I'm not so sure I want to have this on paper unless I can add specific stipulations--and can trust a judge would actually pay attention to my wishes.

In Terri's case, a living will would probably have ensured her death much sooner. Just a few things to ponder:

1) Judge Greer dismissed her family's testimony that she would want to live, and only considered testimony from Schiavo & his brother that she would want to die.

2) Schiavo secured the "death brigade" (ie. euthanasia activists Felos & Dr Cranford, among others) to assist him in killing his wife, & Greer demonstrated repeatedly that he was uninterested in any outcome other than her death; any evidence except that which supported his original ruling.

3) It's obvious that the goals of the death brigade include redefining/expanding "persistent vegetative state" to include minimal consciousness, and "life-sustaining care" to include a simple feeding tube.

A lot about this case enrages me, but the most annoying thing is that now each legislature will have to write laws to guarantee the rights of the disabled--only to face the very real threat of those laws being nullified (as happened in Florida) by judges who twist the Constitution to trump the legislative process.

IMO, after watching this complete failure of the justice system to protect an innocent woman, I can't trust my wishes to be upheld, even if in writing.

The way I see it, I could, in addition to the living will, leave strict, detailed instructions concerning almost every possible scenario of disability...and a Judge Greer could come along, never meet me, refuse to listen to anyone who saw signs of life & wanted to care for me, ignore my "non-official" instructions, and ultimately rule, since I had a living will, all other info could be discarded and I could be killed.

It would all be so very legal, you know.
We all should be very afraid.