Just under a month ago, I planned a flight to visit my home city, Pittsburgh. I’ve been planning activities and visits with family carefully as the trip takes place in December. This isn’t the first time I have planned a trip, or made other plans of lesser importance. It’s easy to plan for an event that brings excitement and eagerness; but how about planning for death?
People plan small decisions daily and contemplate large decisions very often; it’s planning for death that scares them beyond considering. Planning end-of-life decisions is awkward, taboo and one of those things procrastination just can’t push far enough away. The truth is that planning for end of life care with advance directives should be put at the top of everyone’s planning concerns; past birthday parties and Christmas.
Susan Jacoby’s article stresses the importance of making end of life decisions. It shows how careful planning could prevent arguments and discrepancies from even beginning amongst family after a passing; allowing for more important emotions and matters to take place. The article shows how effective planning can unfold as Susan’s mother didn’t want to be placed on a respirator or kept alive when she wasn’t truly living; had Susan not known about her mother’s wishes, she would have been under unwanted care. Not only could the care have been unwanted, but also the expensive treatment could’ve left unnecessary financial debt for Susan. As Susan believes, Americans love knowing that they have the freedom to make their own decisions, but are so reluctant to actually make them. As we eagerly plan for upcoming events, advance directives such as a living will or health care proxy should be created for the sake of oneself and family.
When treatment is wanted, a doctor’s job is to describe procedures and options to the patient and family, insuring full understanding. I wouldn’t say that the healthcare provider always knows best, nor would I that the patient or family often does. With the doctor thinking only from facts and medical perspective, while the family is thinking purely with emotions, a balance must be made. Should situations arise in questioning a decision made by a healthcare provider? – Certainly. Seeking opinions of other medical professionals or researching the treatments personally can bring knowledge to close the gap and make the correct decision easier.