End of Life Decisions: The Patient’s Responsibility

As intelligent beings, we know that death is inevitable. Our time will come whether slowly or instantly. We cannot tell when, how or where. However, what we can decide is what will happen to us if our death is a slow one, an instant one or other. It is our responsibility now to decide so that later in life at times of death or times before death, things may run relatively smoothly and stress will be lessened for all involved. Complications occur because we live in an imperfect world. Things do not always go as planned. This is why advance directives and other forms of communication that relay what one wants later in life are so important.


With that being said, I believe it is the responsibility of the patient to have some form of advance directive and have had a discussion with the family as to what is to be done before and after a death. I do not think one should have one by any particular age, however one could be handy at any time seeing as how life is unpredictable. One should definitely be created if a terminal illness is diagnosed. This eliminates arguments and disagreements amongst family members later on when everything is laid out in black and white what is and what is not to be done. After all, these are the decision of the dying or dead and I think those decisions should be honored. It could save time, money, and stress during a hard time.


While this is easier said than done, once it is over with, there is less to worry about in the future if the issue is addressed sooner rather than later or when it is too late as most do. As I mentioned earlier however, things do not always go as planned and healthcare providers may give some suggestion as what to do in a situation where an advance directive has not been made or things happen that were not specified. In this case, a patient or their family may not be able to know everything or even enough to question a healthcare provider on their decisions or suggestions. This can be due to stress, lack of medical knowledge and the most important factor, emotions. It is possible, like anything else is possible, that one may know enough to question a healthcare provider. Even if this is not the case, one should always question a healthcare provider. This is because there are usually always more than one option or possibility and the one given may not be the best because humans are subject to error. One should not blindly follow the decisions of others when it comes down the wire.


It is the responsibility, I think, of the patient’s family to question the healthcare provider if or when the patient cannot do it themselves. They should also question them in order to have as much information as possible regarding their family member. More information is better than not. With this, staying informed is a general responsibility. Image


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