As Americans, we are lucky enough to have to right to make our own decisions regarding our preferences in end-of-life care. We have the freedom to make choices based on our own wants and beliefs. It is my belief that with this right comes responsibility. There is no way for any healthcare provider to know exactly what a patient wants unless those wants are made known and clearly stated. Like Jacoby says, Americans place a high value on our freedoms to make personal choices. There are ways for Americans to express exactly what kind of care they would like to receive at the end of their lives, many are uncomplicated. By having advance directives made, the patient can clearly communicate their wishes to the healthcare provider. Advance directives can help avoid costly, unnecessary, and painful medical interventions that may not be desired by the patient. Patients have the responsibility to make advance directives because they have to right to.
The patient plays a huge role, maybe the only role, in deciding what kind of treatment they would like at the end of their life. If something happens to the patient and they can no longer communicate what kind of care they would like to receive, the advance directives they have made will act on their behalf. As long as the patient is able to think and speak, they will be able to know if their wishes are being carried out. When they lose this ability, I think the responsibility should fall on to the patient’s family.
It’s hard to know exactly what’s “right” when it comes to end of life care. There is no absolute way to know when someone will die. Even healthcare providers and professionals can only go by what they have learned and by what the book says. If a doctor thinks they can extend a dying patients life, but the patient does not want that, then the doctor should follow the patient’s wishes, even if it goes against what the doctor wants to do. I think a dying patient always has the right to question decisions made by a healthcare provider, it’s their life and their choice.