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Protecting Your Body and Your Peace of
All about what you have to know to protect
yourself in case you become incapacitated. Making a "Living
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Becoming physically or mentally
incapacitated is something that can happen to
anyone. Statistically, it is more likely to happen, when
you get older. As you are going towards retirement or are
already retired, it would be a good idea to give this
some thought. It is not about being morbid or
paranoid. It is more, a reasonable precaution,
that should ensure you will be looked after, if you
become incapacitated. That is why we call it
Protecting Your Body and Your
Peace of Mind
Questions you have to ask Yourself
decide what for you and your
body if you are not in a position to express
the right to decide for you?
spouse, children, a friend or your doctor?
want to be kept alive on a respirator?
for how long and under what conditions?
want to continue your life in an unconscious
decide whether a coma is temporary or permanent?
pay for your medical care, yourself (from your
savings!), the relatives, your insurance, the
state or your family?
decide who pays?
These may be painful questions
but they are no less important for being so. There may
come a time, when you cannot decide for yourself how to
answer these questions.
you must think about these things while your are
healthy and in sound mind.
Some Issues You have to Deal with
appoint a medical surrogate,
either a family member, a friend or a doctor.
But, in many states this is a temporary measure,
covering only a specific illness or hospital
There is no clear mandate for regulating
medical surrogates. Only a few states
regulate this area. If you, the patient, has not
appointed one before you are
ill or incapacitated, a probate court must
appoint one for you.
This appointment comes at a time, where the judge
does not know the patient or his/her wishes. The
judge can only rule on what "appears"
to be fair. This may not be what
It may also take time and delay
important medical care, which will not be in your best
||A more permanent
solution is a durable power
of attorney for health care. For
this you must anticipate the worst case scenarios
involving your health and potential illnesses or
accidents. Then you must think about what you
would want in these circumstances and put
it in writing.
It is important for you to know what laws
your state has regarding protection of
the seriously disabled and incapacitate.
It may be a good idea for you to appoint a friend
or a relative as "attorney in fact" to
act in your interests, not theirs, in case your
are incapacitated. They will need to know
your wishes, which as mentioned above, should be
put in writing. These
will cover your life choices.
For example, you may want to prolong life in case of
unconsciousness or total paralysis or, you may NOT
want to prolong life.
You may want to issue Do Not Resuscitate
Orders if "xyz" occurs.
You may want to specify what kind of narcotic pain relief
you want and under what circumstances.
You may want to give instructions regarding organ
donation after your death. You can decide which
organs to donate and for what purpose: transplant,
research, education etc.
The best way to ensure your wishes are
meet is to write them down, now,
not later. Then, find out how your state regulates
medical care in these circumstances, proceed accordingly,
with the necessary legal forms and documents. Make sure
you give someone power of attorney
who is responsible and about whom you
are 100% sure, will have your wishes and best interests
go and see a lawyer and discuss the issues with
him/her. A friend may also be of help. Provided
the person is linked to you in a true
friendship, not some temporary friend,
who suddenly disappears! So be careful in
your choice. There may also be a need to
have a second back up person (the person you
appointed could for instance himself be
incapacitated while performing his duty for
Probably the more you think about
it, the better your choice. Below are some
reading suggestions that might help you, or at
the very least set you on the right path!
about a "Living Will" and
associated Issues from amazon.com
There are many other books
available related to issues of creating a "Living
Will" or giving "Power of
Attorney". The above are just a selection which
we found particularly useful and not too technical, to