In Susan Jacoby’s article “Taking Responsibility for Death” she details the importance of not waiting until the very end to make your end-of-life decisions. Susan points to her mother as a prime example of how much more smooth the entire process of dying is if you have all of your affairs in order, and she vows to have her decisions made ahead of time as well. I completely agree with her position on not waiting to make such decisions, and being proactive about them.
We as Americans are blessed with freedom that many others around the world do not have, and we should take advantage of them to thefullest when we can. In regard to end-of-life decisions we have the responsibility to make those decisions ahead of time. It is very important to specify what kind of care you as an individual will want in specific situations and not allow those decisions fall into someone else’s hands when you are no longer competent or autonomous. I know what kind of care I want if I become severely ill and I want my wishes to be adhered to even when I am no longer competent, which is why it is of the utmost importance to make these decisions ahead of time. People need to specify how their finances will be attended to, what kind of care they want if the patient becomes terminal, and just make sure there are no questions or argument on what they really wanted. I would want my family to give me advice, but in the end if I will make the decision on how my end-of-life process will proceed. For example, if I want to refuse medical care if I become terminal I do not want my family to be overbearing in their advice, but instead respect my decisions.
I believe that patients and their families can always learn about the medical care options that are available to them. It is very important to know all your options and what the possible treatments and alternatives for every scenario is because blindly doing what a healthcare provider says would not be wise. If my family or I as the patient have an issue or question about possible treatment or advance directives, I have every right to question the reasoning and motives behind their decision. I do not feel the patient or family should have to hold back because they are the ones in such a difficult situation and should be allowed to question the health care provider whenever they choose.
It is up to us to take control of how the end of our lives will play out. We need to be empowered Americans and face these tough questions and make the right decisions for us and our families.