Critical Care and Hospital Paperwork: “As the Catholic Church teaches, and my healthcare agent consents if I am unable to consent.”

Currently, in today’s healthcare world, there is a document for medical care that one can sign even before going into the hospital called, “Aging With Dignity: Five Wishes.” [According to the website of Aging with Dignity, the Five Wishes document ” has become America’s most popular living will”.]

There is a section in this document that asks a future patient the following: “If I wish to omit life-support treatment, I write this limitation in the space below,” which is very dangerous.  The problem with this request is that most of us are not good doctors to be able to give such directives.  As a result, it would be possible for us to die based on poor care that we authorized in the first place.  We never can know when new procedures for curing make be discovered, which if used, could give us years of a productive life.  Finally, it is possible that a poor and ambiguous sentence or two in this document could be used by a hospital to force us out so that the hospital can have the bed for another patient.

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