Can We Still Learn From the Terri Schiavo Case?

The back-and-forth battle over Terri Schiavo’s fate lasted 15 LONG years. Although the swarms of media publicity have faded, the controversial issues in “right-to-die” cases are still fresh in the courtroom.

So what can you do to ensure your wishes are followed if something should happen to your health?

Advanced Directives.

There are two types of advanced directives:

  • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care: (Preferred in IL) This appoints an individual of your choosing to act of your behalf, ensuring treatment is administered in accordance with your desires. The person you chose has COMPLETE authority to direct your medical care, this includes access to your medical records and seeking court intervention on your behalf, if necessary.
  • Living Will: This document outlines your decisions to receive certain types of medical treatment. It can dictate whether life-saving treatments, such as artificial breathing, food, and water should be provided or withheld under various circumstances. The living will becomes active once you are deemed to lack decisional capacity and are terminally ill. Unlike the Durable Power of Attorney,  no advocate is appointed to make decisions on your behalf; health care providers will follow the directions you set forth in the document.

Remember, it is never too soon to ensure your choices regarding end-of-life care are followed and protect your family from an emotional, legal battle like the Terri Schiavo case.