February 1, 2012
Paramedics are often called to a home because of an emergency situation. In such instances, most people wish to be resuscitated or defibrillated in order to maintain their life and hopefully recover with quality of life. Most people also desire that extraordinary medical procedures be utilized in a time of crises. But this is not the case in every situation.
While an individual is competent, he or she may exercise their opinion to have treatment provided to them or discontinued, so that no further attempt should be made to provide them with life support and related medical treatment. While competent, it is relatively straight forward and easy for someone to make decisions regarding their own health care. When competency falls into somewhat of a gray area, the test for competency helps to determine whether the patient understands the nature of their illness and the effects that proposed treatment or lack thereof would have on them.
Since 1990, a person in Massachusetts has been able to make their own decisions and provide for their future care with a document called a Health Care Proxy. This is similar to a Living Will or a document called Five Wishes or Advance Medical Directives. These documents designate another person to substitute for the patient in making decisions regarding end of life and ongoing healthcare treatment.
However, the standard form provided by medical facilities does not provide for a so-called Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR.) ...
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by: Hyman G. Darling