Living Will Stops End of Life Indignities

Indeed planning for the end of life can lessen the blow of death and make it easier to handle. Drawing up a living will is an important part of the process. However, unlike the traditional-type will which gives guidance as to what to do after death, a living will is about your end-of-life wishes while you are still alive.

With a living will, you give instructions while you are still of sound mind and in reasonable health. You wouldn’t be able to do this in the event of a serious medical condition that renders you unable to make your decisions. A living will stipulates that in the case of a critical accident or illness where there is no hope of recovery, you don’t want to be on life support.

LivingLiving Will Will – SAVES – The Living Will Society

Not all Living Wills are the same, and in fact, most countries have their own versions in tandem with the laws of that particular country. In a country like South Africa, the Living Will issued by SAVES – The Living Will Society – uses the concept of ‘Informed Consent.’ A patient must give such consent for any treatment a doctor considers advisable.

Patients who have executed the Living Will give instructions regarding the type of treatment to which they will not consent when dying, and no doctor may disregard these instructions. If they do, they are doing something illegal.

More About SAVES

SAVES was formed in 1974 in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. SAVES is a non-profit organisation who were instrumental in getting legislation for living wills. Because of this, a new Bill entitled The Living Will‘Euthanasia and the rights of the terminally Ill’ went before Parliament. Thanks to this, members of a recognised Society will know that their Living Wills will have the force of law.

Today, SAVES bases its operation on these principles –

  • death is a natural life event, and it must be as dignified as possible
  • an adult patient of sound mind has the right to refuse medical treatment
  • in keeping with ensuring death is humane, if so requested, artificial life support systems should not be used. This option should not affect any life insurance policy. Mercy killing and physician-assisted -suicide doesn’t receive the support of SAVES
  • life support systems should only be used to sustain life when there is a chance of recovery, and not to delay the inevitable moment of death, which merely prolongs everyone’s anguish
  • the suffering of all concerned should not be prolonged when there is absolutely no chance of a recovery
  • every effort needs to be made to relieve the patient from physical and mental stress, pain and discomfort


Living Will – Find out More

Anyone over the age of 18 and who is of sound mind may join SAVES – The Living Will Society. SAVES make provision on their website to print their enrollment form which can then be faxed back to them on 031 267 2218. You can also download the enrollment form and email it back to them at SAVES will provide you with three copies of the Living Will, a Wallet Card, Stickers and instructions around the signing and lodging of each document. If you require any further information about Living Wills, you are more than welcome to contact the Director at –
SAVES – The Living Will Society
P.O. Box 1460

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All info was correct at time of publishing