Dear Dr. K: "In my written instructions for family and caregivers I've stated: "If I'm living, let me live. If I'm dying, let me die." Is this enough? I'd appreciate some "informed advice" on this, with alternate suggestions."
Let me start by congratulating you on having taken some very important steps that I wish all my patients would complete! First, you've thought ahead to a time when your caregivers may have to make medical decisions on your behalf. Second, you've made the effort to document your wishes; written information in an advance directive or living will can be very helpful to all involved when a crisis hits.
The trouble, however, is that your instructions may be hard to follow. That's because in advanced illness, living and dying often look more like a spectrum, where one slowly shades into the other, rather than like two distinct states that are easy to tell apart. Someon... Read more