A Duty to Decide

There is an interesting paradox in the extreme ways in which Americans value autonomy but choose to completely disperse of it when it comes to making any end of life decisions. Everyone in America, and the rest of the world, has a responsibility to making their end of life preferences. Life is too unpredictable yet many people fail to acknowledge it and fail to make what I would call one of life’s most important decisions, what do I want done once it’s over? Responsibility might not be a powerful enough of a word so let me put it this way, people have a duty. A duty to their loved ones, and themselves, to let the people around them what they would want done in any life threatening situations and what kind of arrangements they would like be made after end of life. The questionnaire below is a good starter for families to talk about when it comes to what kind of decisions should be made at end of life.
Families drive you crazy; at least I know mine does, and many times emotional decisions like these can be difficult to agree on. Patients must make it clear both verbally and physically (e.g., in writing) their wishes to their loved ones. In return, families must understand that these are the wishes of the patient and that they are to be respected even after death. A doctor has a sworn oath to do what is in the patient’s best interest for survival. That does not mean they are always right or wrong but simply that there are better suited options for certain people. Patients and families should always know enough not only to question decisions made by their healthcare providers but to know when they should get a second opinion.


One thought on “A Duty to Decide

  1. I liked how you stated that we have a DUTY to make these decisions. It in fact is more than a responsibility and is important that when we are in those situations that we take on these duties before something happens where we aren’t in a competent state. I agree that these times are emotional and as families it’s better not to argue about these things. I also liked that you mentioned getting a second opinion. A lot of times we trust what one healthcare provider says when in fact they may not always be right.

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