Living Will Speaks for You When You Cannot
There is a testament called the ‘Living Will.’ It is a means of communication to family and friends when someone can no longer speak for himself. This living testament declares that you do not consent to your body being kept on artificial life support systems.
What a Living Will Says
A Living Will is for such people as your doctor, your family, and other health authorities. Some of the kinds of wording you will see in a Living Will will typically include –
‘If the time dawns when I am no longer able to make any decisions about my wellbeing and future, let this declaration stand and direct and guide those mentioned above. It speaks for me when I can no longer speak. If there is no possibility of my recovery from physical illness I do not give my consent to be kept alive artificially and I don’t give consent to being fed via a tube. I request however that I do receive whatever drugs, medications, and intravenous fluids are required to free me from pain and distress.
Never try to resuscitate me – I don’t give my consent to any attempt whatsoever for any medical person to try and resuscitate me. If my heart and my breathing stops and my prognosis are hopeless, I do NOT want to be resuscitated just to be kept on life support.’
Keep it Safe at a Relevant Venue
At least three copies of your Living Will must state that you were of sound mind when signing it. Witnesses must be present. It is very important that you do share this decision with the persons who will implement your Living Will. And these people must know where you intend keeping the Will. This can be either in a safe place at home should an emergency arrive, with your lawyer or doctor.
It is also imperative that the Living Will is not incorporated in your Last will or even attached to it. Remember that the Last Will and Testament will only be acted upon after your death. So this could mean that you could be kept for weeks or years on life support systems against your will. And that is but before anyone is even aware that this is not your wish.
SAVES gives you Dignity
Just about every country in the world will have its version of a Living Will. Each country bases its version on the laws of their country. South Africa already has over 43 000 people registered by SAVES. A function of this society to show people they have the right to refuse to be kept artificially alive. SAVES was also instrumental in a bill for euthanasia and terminally ill patients’ rights. That bill is still awaiting presentation at Parliament.
Everything Above Board
When you join an official Living Will society and use the official Living Will documents, you can be sure of a proper Living Will in place should this emergency arise.
Decisions made will receive the support and backup of your Society. Being a member of a Society also records you as a person standing by and supporting your Society’s petitions for the Living Will legislation.
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