I found Dr. Murray’s essay, How Doctors Die – It’s Not Like the Rest of Us, But It Should Be, very compelling, and this paragraph resonated with me:
…[I]magine a scenario in which someone has lost consciousness and been admitted to an emergency room. As is so often the case, no one has made a plan for this situation, and shocked and scared family members find themselves caught up in a maze of choices. They’re overwhelmed. When doctors ask if they want “everything” done, they answer yes. Then the nightmare begins. Sometimes, a family really means “do everything,” but often they just mean “do everything that’s reasonable.” The problem is that they may not know what’s reasonable, nor, in their confusion and sorrow, will they ask about it or hear what a physician may be telling them. For their part, doctors told to do “everything” will do it, whether it is reasonable or not.
Any of us could find ourselves in this situation – too stressed about a family member’s possible death to hear and understand clearly what the doctor is telling us. If you’re not a healthcare professional, what does “everything” mean? Who knows!? Reimagine that scenario with this change: the ill family member had previously signed healthcare directives and made his or her own choices. There’s much less stress for everyone involved – the doctor knows what to do and family members don’t have to figure it out. You can make sure this doesn’t happen to your family by using an affordable, online system to create your own healthcare directives.