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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Choice of a healthcare proxy: By the flip of a coin

A close friend recently described the anguish he felt during his father's final days. His father had appointed both my friend and his older brother as co-proxies, not wanting to show favoritism. Unfortunately, the two sons couldn't agree on hospice care for their father. In the face of their disagreement, hospital staff assumed that by default, they should continue aggressive efforts to save the patient's life, and did so.

Advice to seniors: Choose one of your adult children to act as your proxy in case you are not able to inform hospital staff about your decision for care near the end of life. If you have two children, you can flip a coin, and notify the preferred proxy that s/he won a coin toss. (You may have to flip the coin more than once.) Tell the preferred proxy you'd expect him to consult the other family members prior to making a decision using the living will as a guide (unless the decision needs to be made quickly). That way, they'd gain the benefit of others' thinking, but will still speak with one voice to all the health care providers, to give them clarity about what they should do.

This should prevent any resentment from the child you have not chosen as the proxy.

See a story about a simple living will.


medical malpractice said...

Nice post. People can create a document that declares someone their health care proxy, granting them the power to make medical decisions if a doctor declares the patient mentally incapacitated. This can result from a wide variety of circumstances, ranging from a stroke or advanced dementia to an auto accident. The document can include specific instructions, such as whether the person wants to be an organ donor or be cremated.

personal injury lawyer mesa az said...

Loved this article! I would be smarter now and I would love to try this out.