What is a Living Will?

A living will is a document in which you decide what you would like a physician to do to save your life in the event that you flatline in a hospital setting. 

 

Living wills are especially useful when a person has a terminal illness which causes severe and unrelenting pain or discomfort, particularly near the end-stages of the illness.  Many people feel that in that circumstance, it is demoralizing and often akin to an insult to dignity to die from your illness, perhaps painfully, only to be resuscitated, stabilized temporarily, and perhaps suffer the same fate again soon thereafter. The living will instructs your physician and care providers not to resuscitate you in such a case. 

 

The benefit of the living will is that it is filled out and placed in your medical file now while you have the legal capacity to make such a decision.  If you are later deemed incompetent to make such a call, a living will is not an option, which may lead to the unfortunate depiction above.

 

 

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