June 29, 2006
Facing your own mortality is a difficult concept to come to terms with. There are several scenarios that younger individuals must be aware of that may leave you unable to make your own health care decisions, and thus necessitate a health care proxy. For example, a college student may suffer from alcohol poisoning and go into shock, you may have a car accident, an eating disorder may cause hospitalization, or you may simply fall from a ladder cleaning leaves from your gutters.
The younger generation should also understand that patients are sometimes diagnosed as being in an irreversible coma, brain dead or living in a persistent vegetative state, all of which may be permanent but not terminal. This means that you could spend the rest of your life on life support. This reality can be emotionally and financially devastating for family and friends.
The importance of having a health care proxy is not just reserved for the elderly. In the wake of the 2005 Terri Schiavo case, we also should remember the 46-year-old firefighter from Easton, Massachusetts, Paul Brophy, and the 25-year-old Missouri woman, Nancy Beth Cruzan. All were under the age of 50, and each case was brought to the national spotlight because of the lack of a health care proxy.
On December 19, 1990, Massachusetts passed a law regarding health care proxies. The law allows... read more here
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by: Brett A. Kaufman, Esq.