The author of the article, Susan Jacoby, states that, “there is a clear contradiction between the value that American society places on personal choices and Americans’ reluctance to make their own decisions, insofar as possible, about the care they will receive as death nears.” This statement can be considered accurate by not only the statistical evidence, but also from any personal experience anyone has with trying to make decisions for someone else, such as a family member, at end of life. Statistically, because so few older adults talk to their children about end of life care, many are ignorant to their parent’s wishes as to what to do in the event that they fall ill or are seriously injured. Surprising, most people would actually cease treatment in the event that no cure could be reached and they were suffering; most people agree that some patients should, sometimes, be allowed to die. We as Americans, as well as rational, free-thinking human beings, should have a responsibility to not only ourselves, but to our families, in making our own decisions nearing the end of life. Granted, sometimes death can come without warning; it can be difficult to plan for death by a car accident or a random act of violence like a robbery, for example. However, there are steps that people can take to ensure that their wishes are met in the event they are clinging to life and no one can come to an agreement on a treatment. Living wills and advanced directives are great, fairly simple things to help ease the period during end of life. Because they are made by the patient, whether the patient is coherent or not, everyone knows what they wanted prior to getting sick/injured and should list all the wishes of the patient. These documents can also be nullified at any point by the patient in the event that they change their minds on any of the treatments or actions taken. However, if the patient does happen to be incoherent, it is in the best interest of the family to know, explicitly, what the patient wanted to happen during their treatment. The patient sitting their family down and laying out exactly what they want to happen during end of life is in both the patient’s best interest as well as their family’s. Because everyone has been specifically told what the patient wanted, no one person can say they know what’s best for the patient or what they really wanted since everyone will already know. It is also a wise idea to understand the ailment and treatment process at end of life. This will give both the patient and their family the ability to better understand their healthcare provider, thereby better understanding the patient’s possible outcome after treatment. Because of this, it is a decent idea to question ones healthcare provider every now and then so that every option or alternative can be examined and discussed to raise the patient’s quality of life nearing the end.


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