Thursday, January 15, 2009

Protecting Against Involuntary Euthanasia by Providers

The Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics

Protecting Against Involuntary Euthanasia by Providers



Report Finds:
MOST STATES DON’T REQUIRE DOCTORS TO HONOR
ADVANCE DIRECTIVES THAT DIRECT FOOD, FLUIDS, TREATMENT

The laws of all but ten states may allow doctors and hospitals to disregard advance directives when they call for treatment, food, or fluids, according to a report issued by the NRLC Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics April 15, 2005 (updated 2008).

In the wake of the Terri Schiavo case, authorities have urged Americans to complete advance directives, like living wills, to state in which circumstances they would want medical treatment, food, and fluids if they become incapable of making these decisions. However, the Powell Center report charges that, increasingly, health care providers who consider a patient’s “quality of life” too low are defying these directives to deny treatment against patient and family wishes.

A national Polling Company poll conducted April 8-11, 2005 (n 500; m/e 4.5%) shows 76 % of those told “A seriously ill patient has indicated they want food and fluids but the doctor thinks the patient’s quality of life too low” say the patient should be able to receive food and fluids. Only 14% felt the doctor should be allowed to withhold them. Their position was similar concerning a patient who wants “life support” when the doctor says quality of life is too low: by 77% to 14%, the patient’s view should prevail.

Dorothy Timbs, J.D., Legislative Counsel for the Powell Center for Medical Ethics, said, “We believe most Americans will be deeply disturbed that four-fifths of the states do not clearly protect their right to choose food, fluids, or life-preserving medical treatment. It is important to fill out an advance directive like the Will to Live available on our website, here, to make your wish not to be denied food or treatment clear. However, it is equally important to work for legal reform so that your choice for life will be honored.”

To get all the information on this topic and downloads, such as "Will to Live", please see the link below. Trust me, I know this. My mom was at the hospital for tests and when left alone with dementia, broke her hip. They never called me to let me know that she broke her hip, did all tests, scheduled everything, without telling me...and had completely ignored my Power of Attorney for her medical care.

http://www.nrlc.org/MedEthics/ProtectingAgainstProviders.html

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