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Why your last wishes need to be known by having a living will

Updated on September 3, 2012

Protecting your self in the end

Imagine being in a coma and hearing the doctors say "she is not going to make it" but your family refuses to pull the plug all the while your screaming inside for them to let you go. No one hears you and your family, out of selfishness and selflessness chooses to keep you alive to suffer because you never prepared your living will.

If you think this doesn't happen all too often, then think again. When people are diagnosed with terminal illness, comatosed, unable to speak up for themselves, families will keep them alive for their own sake even if the person has said a million times in their life they do not want to ever live that way.

As in the case of Terry Shiavo, her husband fought for years to take his wife off of any kind of life saving devices because she said she never wanted to live that way. This is an example of parents who were in denial, all the while letting their daughter suffer in a state she did not want to live, that of a vegetable.

Working in the medical field my entire life, I have grown to realize, that if your last wishes upon your death are not written, then they will most likely not be honored.

Your family will decide what to do with you and your estate and you will not be able to say one word about it.

A simple form you can get online is called Five Wishes, which can be written out to specifically state your last wishes. If you want to make sure that your family respects your wishes then the only way it can be accomplished is to have a living will made out.

I have seen families fight over taking a loved one off of life support even after the doctor said they are not going to make a recovery. Imagine being at the hands of people, care givers, who don't know you're too hot or too cold, you have an itch, or you're in pain. Imagine just screaming inside for someone to let you go but no one is listening. Imagine your family fighting, you can hear them, but you can't stop it. It is not our decision to preserve life or to keep someone alive for our own selfish reasons.

A living will is something everyone should have and it can be typed on a piece of paper as long as it is witnessed and notorized they have to honor your wishes. My husband and I filled out our Five Wishes and it took only a few minutes. With two signitures and a notarization, neither one of our families will be able to argue over what we want or need when that time comes.

I don't want to be kept alive, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, if I am just a body laying in a bed with machines keeping me alive.

Also if you do have a family member who is in that condition, make the right decision and let them go. Don't keep them around for your own selfishness. You don't know what agony inside they are suffering.

Have a living will, keep it up to date, and make sure your doctor also has a copy in your medical record.


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