“My dream is that every terminally ill American has access to the choice to die on their own terms with dignity.” That is Brittany Maynard, who you probably heard a lot about last year.
In the spring of 2014, Brittany Maynard, age 29, was given startling news. She had terminal brain cancer. Instead of feeling helpless, she decided to take charge of her illness, and took steps to control how and when she would pass away. She moved to Oregon, one of five states that legally allows what is called “death with dignity.” By doing so, she took control of what seemed like an uncontrollable situation. Through the power of social media, she used her difficult predicament to educate others and give strength to those who were terminally ill.
Death with dignity is a medical practice where a terminally ill adult requests medication which will end their life. The laws in Oregon, along with Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico, are 100% voluntary. An eligible patient can request the prescription, but no doctor is obligated to provide it. Once the prescription is written, it is up to the patient to decide if they fill it and if and when to take it. Many people in Brittany’s situation never take the prescription, but appreciate knowing that they have control of their fate.
Since Brittany’s passing, this issue has created a spirited debate. Some people advocate similar laws while others are very much against them. Here in Ohio, nothing like this currently exists.
The best way to ensure that your final wishes are carried out in Ohio is by executing Advance Directives. Advance Directives document your wishes as to medical decisions at the end of your life. The Advance Directives currently authorized by the State of Ohio include Living Wills, Health Care Powers of Attorney, Do Not Resuscitate Orders and Organ Donation forms.
The Health Care Power of Attorney tells others who should make your health decisions if you cannot. The Living Will determines how you would like your family and your doctors to proceed if you are in a terminal, permanently unconscious state. Do Not Resuscitate Orders and Organ Donation forms are much less common, but if you are interested in talking about them, simply give us a call.
Contact AlerStallings at 877-912-3464 to set up an appointment to review, update and/or execute Advance Directives with an attorney, so that you may control what seems like an uncontrollable situation. We are here to help!