While it would seem that controlling your healthcare decisions and how you are cared for is important to everyone, only about 26% of Americans have taken the steps necessary to do so. There are three important documents that everyone over the age of 18 should have to protect their healthcare. Those documents are a Healthcare Surrogate Designation (also known as a Medical Power of Attorney), a Living Will Declaration (also known as an Advance Directive), and a HIPAA Authorization. Learn more about these important documents.
Picture in your mind a woman at home on a Sunday morning. This woman appears to have no major health problems. However, on this morning she suffered cardiac arrest. She was resuscitated, but had massive brain damage due to lack of oxygen to her brain and was left comatose. After two and a half months without improvement, her diagnosis was changed to that of a persistent vegetative state. You are probably thinking that this scenario isn’t all that uncommon, that perhaps the woman is older and these things happen when you get older, right? However, the story I’ve just told you is about a woman that was just 27 years old, Terri Schiavo. Mrs. Schiavo was kept alive on life support for 15 years while her husband fought to take her off life support and her parents fought to keep her alive.
This is just one example of how not taking control of your healthcare decisions can have severe consequences on you, your family and the finances of your family.
Personally, I know who I would want to make my medical decisions for me, if I were unable to do so myself. Probably more importantly, I know who I would not want making my healthcare decisions for me! But, guess what? A judge does not know my wishes, and it will be a judge that names someone to make those decisions for me if I have not made my desires known.
What are you leaving to chance?
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