Nifty Last Request

All this talk about Terri Schiavo has highlighted the importance of people having their last requests known so that informed decisions can be made with regard to their health care. I have said a number of times that it is important for people to have things in writing. If Terri had written instructions we would not be having a national debate.

There is a story at WBAL radio about a Towson Maryland nurse who has the letters “DNR” tattooed across her chest. DNR stands for Do Not Resuscitate and is an indication that the person does not want heroic measures taken in the event of life threatening circumstances. The nurse, who wishes her identity not be revealed stated that she also wears a medic alert bracelet that has the same instructions as well as the phone number of her ex-husband who knows her wishes and knows where her legal papers are.

This woman states that many health care professionals see the results of people not having advanced directives and they do not want to suffer the same fate. She has just taken more drastic measures to express her wishes. Funny thing is, when I worked in the Emergency Room most of us nurses joked about doing the very same thing.

With all the attention that the Schiavo case has received I am hoping that the one good thing that comes from this is that more people make their wishes known. I have been saying all along that this is an important thing to do. While I am at it I will ask that if you decide to get an advanced directive that you consider donating your organs at the same time. This will save your families a great deal of grief at a time when they will certainly be over burdened.

You can read more here at The Sake of Argument and at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

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One Response to “Nifty Last Request”

  1. Joe M says:

    But has a living will ever been used to PRESERVE anyone’s life? What about the fluid meaning of “life-saving procedure?” (A common expression in living wills). Once it meant only things like kidney dialysis and ventilators. Then it meant oxygen tanks in the patient’s room, even if the patient could put the mask on and take it off. Now just getting food and water is a life-saving procedure.