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Completing your own Texas Living Will

Published by Chapster on 2006/2/17 (5703 reads)
This discussion occurred during a recent taping of the KEOM 88.5FM Community Focus segment. Mike was interviewed by Dr. James Griffin. This segment deals with completing the Texas Living Will, also known as the Directive to Physicians.

Dr. Griffin: So, Mike, what are we talking about today?

Mike: Well, I thought we would take a few minutes to talk about the document known as the Living Will. Many people don’t want to talk about these kinds of issues. But, they are so important. We all remember the struggles that the Schaivo family underwent last year. They continue to have repercussions. Every day I speak with folks who are interested in completing their Living Will. They just need a little help in completing it. So, I thought I would provide that guidance, in three easy steps. We also want to note that the Living Will is also called a Directive to Physicians. The terms are used interchangeably.

Dr. Griffin: That sounds great Mike. So, Step One, where would they get the document?

Mike: Without any effort at all, they can download a copy of the Texas Living Will from This is an exact copy of the form from the Texas Department of Aging and Disability. It is available in both Spanish and English on our site. Listeners will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader™. Simply open the file and print out the form.

Dr. Griffin: Step Two, we have the form in our hands, what next?

Mike: Listeners would simply print their names in the first blank space. The purpose of the Living Will is to make treatment preferences about the care they would want if they were terminally or irreversibly ill and were not able to communicate. So, there are four checkboxes on the left side. Two of them talk about terminal illness and two of them talk about irreversible illness. The choices are as follows: “If I am terminally ill and am expected to die within six months, even with available life-sustaining treatment,” – and here’s the first two choices: “I request that all treatments other than those needed to keep me comfortable be discontinued or withheld and my physician allow me to die as gently as possible. OR I request that I be kept alive in this terminal condition using available life sustaining treatment (This selection does not apply to hospice care).” So, the first choice is to keep me comfortable but let me go. The second choice is to do whatever can be done to keep me alive even though I am terminal. Listeners should initial the blank that reflects their personal values.

The next section deals with irreversible illness such as a persistent vegetative state. In this condition, the person would not be expected to care for himself or herself and would die without life-sustaining treatment. Other than that the choices are essentially the same as with terminal illness. Listeners would make the same choice there. There are some blank spaces where listeners can write in any other preferences, such as “I do/do not want artificial feeding” – things like that. Flip over to the next page. Write in the names of two people to make choices for you if you can’t speak for yourself. Write their relationship to you as well. Finally, drop down to the next section of blanks. Now, invite a couple of unrelated friends or office mates to step into your room. They can’t be heirs either. Make sure and read the stipulations on the form! Buy them a Coke and sign the document, date it and write your city, county and state of residence. Then let your friends witness it. No more than fifteen minutes. Make some copies, give them to your family and take them with you whenever you go to the hospital. You may also want your lawyer to check it. Step Three kick back, knowing you did something good for yourself.

Tags: living   ethics   directive   advance   will   Texas  

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