End-of-life decisions are never easy to make. They require strength and a lot of thought to it. Americans do have the responsibility to make their own decisions regarding end-of-life preferences. They all have the responsibility of deciding what kind of treatments they want, or if they even want treatment at all. Life has many obstacles, which may include being diagnosed with terminal illnesses, or getting into accidents that end up getting people into hospitals with machines keeping them alive. Therefore, advanced directives are very important to have for doctors and family members to know exactly what patients want regarding resuscitation or treatment options. They provide a huge comfort for families because they do not have the burden of deciding for the patient. Furthermore, it is very important for people to be sure of their decisions, and to be explicit about what they want, in their advanced directives.
The role of the patient’s family is to support their loved one, and be strong for him/her. Family members are there to help the patient make good decisions, and make sure every procedure in hospitals are done correctly. Unfortunately, family members have the burden of deciding treatment options because many Americans do not have living wills that dictate their preferences while unconscious. Susan Jacoby wrote an article regarding the responsibilities of people for end-of-life preferences. In her article she talks about her dying mother. She tells the reader that it was a huge comfort for her to know exactly what her mother wanted. After reading this, it is important to realize that advanced directives are a good idea to avoid being a burden to family members when it comes to making difficult decisions.
Healthcare providers are always there to help the patient understand their options and the details of their diseases. Their job is to provide the best explanation and to suggest different alternatives. However, nobody is perfect. Sometimes, healthcare providers do make mistakes regarding treatments, since it is very difficult to know how a patient will react to the different medicines. Therefore patients and family members may definitely question a healthcare provider and their decisions. Sometimes second opinions may be a good option, because end-of-life decisions are not easy. Neither patients, family members, nor healthcare providers will ever know enough to choose a perfect treatment. There is no perfect medicine or treatment; but that is why you have to gather enough information from different doctors, and trust God, who will always be there throughout every process and every hard decision.
Decisions are part of life. Some may be easy decisions, but some may be very hard ones. Either way they have to be made. End-of-life preferences are difficult not only for the patient, but also for family members. Advanced directives are definitely a way to make things easier, even though they still require a lot of thought. However, these documents can make a huge difference during these situations for healthcare providers, families, and patients. Americans should all be responsible for their own death.