'living will' or Advance
Directive for Medical Care is
a legal document setting forth your own personal medical ethics,
stating clearly how you want to be treated at the end of your life.
Especially if you want something other than standard medical care,
you must put your wishes into writing.
first part of any Advance
Directive is appointing proxies
to make your medical decisions for you
if you become unable to decide for yourself.
These surrogates will enforce whatever you put in your 'living will'.
But the Supreme Court has ruled that there are some decisions
proxies cannot make (such as withdrawing food and water)
without "clear and convincing" evidence
that you want no such life-sustaining measures
when you become comatose with little possibility of recovery.
You must decide the exact criteria for ending life-support systems.
Whatever your decisions, the best way to make sure
your wishes are carried out is to write them in your 'living will'.
Creating your 'living will'
can take 1 hour or 10 hours.
But even a simple 'living will' is infinitely better than no record at all.
Minnesota law allows you to write a comprehensive 'living will'.
(James Park's 'living will' is 50 pages long.)
will discuss 24 questions
for comprehensive Advance Directives.
Some of the themes: quality of life; pain control;
termination of treatment; right to die; definitions of death;
disposition of remains; philosophical-religious issues.
I. SCOPE OF YOUR DECLARATION & APPOINTING PROXY DECISION-MAKERS
II. QUALITY-OF-LIFE ISSUES
III. PAIN CONTROL,
FINANCIAL LIMITS, & MEDICAL INFORMATION
IV. LIFE-ENDING DECISIONS
V. DISPOSITION OF YOUR REMAINS
VI. PHILOSOPHICAL-RELIGIOUS BELIEFS & READINESS FOR DEATH
James Park is an existential
philosopher and medical ethicist.
One of his future books will be Your Last Year:
Creating Your Own Advance Directive for Medical Care ,
which will be organized around the 24 questions presented in this talk.
James Park's Advance Directive is available online.
Return to Top 40 Sermon Subjects by James Park.
Return to the UNITARIAN-UNIVERSALISM page.
Return to the Medical Ethics Index page.
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of this home page:
An Existential Philosopher's Museum.