The Importance of Advanced Directives

The importance and necessity of making advance directives, either instructive, or by proxy, became obvious after a huge public resonance, caused by the case of Terri Schiavo, who died in March 2005. In 1990 she suffered a large heart arrest and fell into a persistent vegetative state. Two years later her husband, Michael Schiavo, received in the court the rights to make decisions for Terri, as she did not write any living will or other advance directions. For about ten years he, together with Terri’s parents, was fighting for her recovery or at least looking for achieving some progress. Unfortunately, there were no positive changes, no blinks of consciousness and no positive prognosis. That is why in the end of 1990s he announced his decision about removing Terri’s feeding tube and making her pass away.

It took more than 6 years till artificial feeding was stopped, and in 2005, after 15 years of staying in vegetative condition, Terri died. For about 6 years her parents have been applying to different courts and publicly arguing with her husband about the necessity of continuing Terri’s existence since they were convinced that her chances to be healed with modern therapies are quite high. Numerous funds and organizations supporting Terry were established, thousands of people got involved in this case, including President Bush and Governor of Florida State, and even a special “Terri’s Law” was ratified by the government. Obviously, in the case if Terri, who suffered bulimia and other serious health disorders much before her lethal heart arrest, would sign her living will or any advance directive, there would be no necessity of numerous courts and public observations of Terry Schiavo family’s private affairs.

It is noteworthy also that not only terminally or heavily sick people must express own will concerning medical treatment and end-of-life care. Many specialists underline that in our times, every person should keep this important issue in mind. Unfortunately, any sorts of accidents and traumatic cases, sudden diseases or disorders may happen to any of us at any time and at any place, especially taken into account the advancement of modern technology, environmental pollution of modern times, numerous other health related hazards and risks. Advanced DirectivesThat is why people should never think like “it won’t happen to me” and be courageous enough to ensure proper medical management of possible misfortune acts by writing a living will or a health care proxy. In our times, it is quite easy to do regardless of where the person lives, in what continent or country of the world.

Dying with dignity is a very complex and controversial issue which has been discussed in mass media for a few last decades. There are plenty of opinions and viewpoints, but at the same time, there are q few things which are accepted and understood in the same way both by proponents and the opponents of assisted suicide or other related concepts. We should be prepared and should not shoulder extra responsibility to those close to us in case if the most terrible things started to happen. Certainly, even if the living will requires this, it is not easy to give an order about disconnecting a family member or somebody close from life-keeping sources, and it is also not easy for medical specialists to remove feeding tubes or to stop artificial respiration. But everybody, who feels and understands social responsibility and moral duty to our community, who cares about ethical principles, about own honor and self-esteem must write an advance directive and find peace of mind without worrying for the future.

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