Monday, January 7, 2013

Advanced Health Care Directives

This is not legal advice; you should consult an attorney for legal advice in ensuring your end-of-life documents will be respected.

However, I am sharing my own Advanced Health Care Directive (in both a PDF and a Microsoft Word file format) for others to see the language I chose to use to ensure that I am not treated in ways that I do not wish to be treated. After preparing my document, I signed the bottom of each page, signed and dated the second-to-last page, and had witnesses who met the specified conditions sign and date the final page.

My own directive (a) nominates a person I trust to respect my wishes for a quick, natural death to make health care decisions for me, and (b) states my wishes to die quickly and painlessly if this is a possibility. I have used language about this being my "religious, spiritual, and ethical" belief, as it seems to me that such language is more likely to be respected than purely rational philosophical language.

I have also included language asking to be free from unwanted, offensive, etc. touching, by which I mean that any treatment beyond pain management will be considered by me to be a medical battery.

I have included a "severability clause," which means that in the likely case that my wish to die naturally is found to be against public policy and not respected, the rest of the directive should be enforced, meaning my proxy should still be able to refuse care.

Probably the biggest risk is that, contrary to all logic, the fact that I wish to die will be found to be evidence that I was not of sound mind at the time of the creation of this directive. I hope that this is not the case, but it is a real risk in our prohibition society.

I hope you find this document informative.

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