As Americans, we have fought for the right to make autonomous decisions regarding our life. With such a precious right we also earn the ability to make autonomous decisions regarding our death. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to our families to plan and make decisions regarding our end-of-life care. It is necessary to clearly relay our wishes so that nobody is forced to make such complicated decisions for us.
We have the responsibility of making end-of-life decisions for a couple different reasons. Planning ahead allows us to prevent our family members from the burden of making crucial decisions at such a complicated and emotional time. By providing our family members with an advanced directive or living will we are enabling others to communicate our wishes if we become unable to do so ourselves.
We also have the responsibility to make the best decisions, for us personally, regarding our death. Some of us may want doctors to provide any treatment available that could potentially prolong life. Others may be concerned with the accumulation of medical bills that could become a burden to our family members. Or maybe there’s even concern regarding the quality of life vs. the quantity of it.
Another thing we must consider at the end-of-life is the decisions made by the healthcare professionals. Whether we agree or disagree with the opinions of healthcare professionals, it is important to address our questions and concerns. I don’t think that questioning a trained professional’s decisions is disrespectful just because we don’t have the same knowledge that they possess. Typically, I think that we question the decisions made by healthcare professionals because we have different concerns. Doctors are trained to be concerned with saving lives and avoiding harm to their patients. On the other hand, family members and friends are more concerned with quality of life, cost, and the benefits and burdens that arise from certain treatments. Therefore, settling any concerns is important in order to feel confident in end-of-life care.