What is a Living Will?
A Living Will is a document that directs medical care providers to stop life-sustaining treatments if someone is permanently unconscious or in a terminal condition. Such life-sustaining treatments include resuscitation and artificial nutrition and hydration. For that reason, a Living Will is sometimes referred to as a Do Not Resuscitate form or “DNR.”
To be considered permanently unconscious, two doctors must agree that the patient has lost all higher brain function and is unable to suffer or feel pain. A terminal condition means there is no chance of recovery and death is likely to occur within a short period of time if life-sustaining treatments is no longer administered. A Living Will does not go into effect unless one of those two conditions has occurred.
It is important to recognize that a Living Will does not direct care providers to cease all medical treatment. Health care personnel are still required to provide comfort care regardless of whether someone has signed a Living Will. Therefore, patients who have a Living Will still receive the same quality of humane care.
A Living Will can also be used to designate whether someone wants to be an organ donor, but it is not the only means of doing so.
Attorney Fogt Can Help
Deciding whether to sign a Living Will can be a difficult choice to contemplate. It is crucial to fully understand the implications. In addition, everyone has different feelings about how they want to be cared for in such a state. It can be a good idea to discuss the topic with loved ones and to consult with trusted medical professionals. If you are considering signing a Living Will, you should contact our office to speak with Attorney Christopher Fogt. He can answer your questions and address any concerns you may have.