Friday, January 23, 2009

Living Wills

According to an Irish Independent report a living will is NOT euthanasia. A living will, according to the report allows you to take responsibility for your own health and care right up to the end of your life by allowing you to state, in advance, the medical treatment you would, or would not, like to receive in the event that you could no longer communicate.

A living will or advance directive may not necessarily be a request for euthanasia, but these statements can be used to demand that doctors bring about a patient's death by, for example, specifying that nutrition/hydration or medical treatment should be withheld. Living wills may be helpful to doctors in forming an impression of a patient's preferences, however if they are binding, they could tie the hands of doctors, preventing them from acting in the patient's best interests. Doctors might act on an advance directive in circumstances which the patient did not foresee, or misinterpret the patient's wishes. For these reasons living wills, are used as a tool of the pro-euthanasia lobby to achieve their goals.

A patient may not realise that withholding treatment will not necessarily lead to an earlier death with less suffering. Death by starvation and dehydration is truly awful and a high profile case occurred in 2005 when Terri Schindler Schiavo died of marked dehydration following more than 13 days without nutrition or hydration under the order of a Circuit Court Judge.