“Death is one of two things. Either it is annihilation, and the dead have no consciousness of anything; or, as we are told, it is really a change: a migration of the soul from one place to another.” -Socrates
I believe Americans have a responsibility to make their own decisions regarding end-of-life preferences. Yes, thinking about end -of-life decisions is overwhelming, but burdening your loved ones could cause controversy among the family, devastation, and financial implications. Loved ones may disagree and argue about what treatment you receive and that could destroy their relationship. They also may suffer by watching you suffer and they could be left paying pricey medical bills.
Americans fought for certain rights and freedoms for hundreds of years. To neglect the right you have to choose your end-of-life decisions would be foolish. You spend your life fighting to be successful and achieve happiness, so why lay on your death bed with no dignity and no chance to choose how you die. Also, you make decisions every day, some decisions you make are not even important, this decision is. You are blessed with the opportunity to choose what type of healthcare you receive, what type of treatment you want and do not want, and how your body should be disposed of, why waste it?
Your wishes may change over the course of time. They also may change when you are actually lying on your death bed. Whatever your wishes are, I believe it is very important to have them documented in a living will. It is also important to discuss in depth exactly what you want with your children, healthcare proxy, and your healthcare provider. Your loved ones should know what you want because it will be difficult for them to decide for you if there comes a time where you are incapable of making your own decisions. Also, your loved ones have the right to know what you want and why you want it so they could be at peace when you pass. For example, they may not have closure if they are unsure that the decision they made for you what something you wanted. When your loved ones let you go they should be able to move on knowing this is what you wanted and this is what you are happy with.
Your loved ones may not understand a health care provider’s reasoning for certain treatments as well. Patients and their family members should be able to ask questions. Patients and their family should know if their illness is irreversible because it will help a patient determine what their next move is. Also, they should question the decision of a healthcare provider because if they do not understand the doctor’s terminology they might be agreeing to something that they realize is not best for their dying loved ones.