An emergency room physician has written a great piece comparing what dying is like today compared to a century ago. The experience today isn’t necessarily better. Everyone needs to read I Know You Love Me — Now Let Me Die by Louis M. Profeta MD.
The majority of humans will experience a gradual decline and loss of function in their lives before they die. Everyone–healthy or otherwise–needs to talk with loved ones NOW about what quality of life means, and how they would prefer to spend their last days. Because we WILL die.
Unfortunately, one can have all the Advance Directive paperwork in place and still have one’s wishes overridden by the hospital if the papers are not in the right hands at the right time. Also, Advanced Directives cannot cover every possibility–for instance, do you want your pneumonia treated with antibiotics if you’re already cognitively impaired by dementia? That’s why it’s so important to make sure loved ones know your wishes and will ensure they are carried out to the best of their ability.
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