Naperville Estate Planning Lawyer on Medical Treatments Addressed by Living Wills

living will, Naperville estate planning attorneysThe types of medical care people choose to undergo can vary dramatically. Some people diligently get their flu shots every year while others have never even considered getting a flu vaccine. Some rush to the urgent care clinic the minute their temperature reads higher than 98.6 degrees, and others avoid going to the doctor as much as possible. Whatever your decisions regarding medical care may be, these are deeply personal decisions that are yours alone to make. However, if something happens and you are incapacitated due to an accident or major illness, you may not be able to express your wishes regarding medical care. Through a living will, you have the opportunity to decide in advance what types of medical treatment you do and do not want if you cannot express these wishes yourself.

Making Future Healthcare Decisions in Advance

A living will is a type of advance directive that involves future medical treatment. A living will is used if you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious and cannot speak for yourself. For example, if you are in a serious car accident and fall into a permanent vegetative state, your living will dictates the medical treatments you would and would not receive.

Living wills often include directions about:

  • Organ and tissue donations: If you want to donate your organs upon your death so that someone else has a chance at life, you can specify this in your living will. You may also dictate whether or not you want to donate your body for scientific research purposes.
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR): If doctors did not believe you would ever regain consciousness, would you want resuscitated through CPR or electric shock?
  • Mechanical ventilation: In your living will, you can include directions about the conditions under which you would want to remain on a mechanical ventilator and when you would not want to be on a breathing machine.
  • Tube feeding: When a person cannot eat, he or she may receive nutrition intravenously or through a feeding tube. Your living will can dictate how long and under what conditions you would want to remain on a feeding tube.
  • Comfort care (palliative care): Your living will can also include information about the medical treatments or tests you do not want to go through near the end of your life as well as treatment wishes regarding pain management.

Many people create a living will not only for their own benefit but for the benefit of their surviving loved ones as well. Making the decision to take a parent off a ventilator, for example, can be an incredibly burdensome decision to make. Instead of leaving these types of medical decisions up to doctors or loved ones, a living will lets you to make these decisions for yourself.

Contact a Naperville Estate Planning Lawyer

If you would like to learn more about advance medical directives such as a living will or healthcare power of attorney, contact the Gierach Law Firm. Call us at 630-756-1160 to schedule your confidential consultation with a compassionate, knowledgeable DuPage County estate planning attorney.

Sources:

Mayo Clinic

Cancer.org

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