Do Americans have a responsibility to make their own decisions regarding end-of-life preferences?

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I believe that every individual who is cognitively capable has to be accountable for their own decisions as much as they are capable. I realize that there are many situations that can be considered out of one’s hand however, I believe that we as a culture use this excuse far too often in order to be irresponsible. Now, I do not for a moment think that every single person willingly decides daily to be irresponsible, more often we are a people who are caught up in our day to day, and fail to see the bigger picture.

That being said, we absolutely have a responsibility to make our own end of life decisions when capable. I think that there is a greater tendency to be more reasonable about accepting one’s own fate then it is to have someone else let you go. If you consider what it would be like to be in an end of life decision and think about comfort and quality over a potentially useless treatment with painful consequences, this seems like a “slam dunk, no brainer, let’s wrap this up” kind of decision

What about when you are in the situation of watching the person that means the most in the world to you go through this exact situation? Our tendency is most likely going to err on the side of doing all we can to hang on to that person tooth and nail. Obviously, a living will that cannot be over ridden would help to solve this dilemma.

Another issue to think about is the fact that the proxy is put in a position to second guess themselves for the remainder of their life. One has to daily struggle with thoughts of “should I have held on longer?” or “did I make their last year an unbearable one?”. Advanced directives from the person themself removes the burden of doubt from the loved one that it was entrusted to.

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