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Good idea recommending patients carry living wills?

August 22, 2013

 

Question:

Hi Jennifer!

Might it be reasonable to advise and/or recommend that patients who have drawn up their Living Will consider the feasibility of carrying a copy with them on their person as well as a copy in the Health-Care-Provider's Office as well as a copy in their Bank Vault or in their own Personal Fire-Proof Safe?

Humble thanks!

Respectful appreciation!

Dr. J


Answer:

Absolutely!  A patient's Living Will is only as good as its availability!  For those not clear on what a Living Will is - it is a legal document - hopefully duly and properly executed -  specifying a patients medical wishes, including usually end of life care.  That document allows for a patient unable to communicate with a healthcare practitioner to have their wishes adhered to.  However, if that document is locked in a Bank Vault or Personal Fire-Proof Save, not much good it will do them!

Now for many young, healthy patients you may not want to waste your breath talking to them about having a Living Will and making 20 copies and leaving them in all of their wallets/purses/brief cases, just in case.  But for patients where you believe a reasonable risk of a situation arising where advance directives may be required, you would only be doing your patient a service suggesting that document be available on their person should the need arise.  A similar document that is only as good as its accessibility is a healthcare proxy - which serves to legally appoint another person as, wait for it, your healthcare proxy.  Both of these documents are incredibly important to protect a patient's rights and intentions.

Of course a shocking amount of physicians themselves do not have these documents in a Vault, Fire Proof Safe, on their person, with a relative, or at all.  This is shocking because doctors are the first in line to know what could, might and probably would go wrong under certain circumstances. 



If this email should inspire you, our firm can assist you with a Living Will and/or Healthcare Proxy.  Both documents require minimal work preparing as they are forms, but need to be tailored and properly executed with witnesses and notarized.  I recommend not obtaining over legal zoom.  Feel free to contact Jennifer at (516) 747-6700 x. 302 or at Jennifer@Kirschenbaumesq.com or Rachel at (516) 747-6700 x. 317 or at RWeinrib@Kirschenbaumesq.com for assistance.  For listserv members we charge $150 for each document, which covers attorney time for preparation, customization and execution in our office. 

 

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