Physician: 'I Almost Killed a Patient' Because of an Advance Directive
All of that said, and given his hesitancy to do a living will or advance directive of his own, Mirarchi still wants to be able to advocate for their proliferation.
"But first I need to advocate for safeguards," he says. "They do have a lot of benefits, and I'm not discouraging anyone from doing one, because there's no question they do save money and resources. Those patients who are not gaining any benefit from treatment are very expensive. But first I need to advocate for safeguards."
So what am I and others like me to do? We want to do the right thing, we want not to be a burden to our families or the healthcare system, but we also don't want to die from a treatable condition because our advance directive has been misinterpreted.
Although my form is one that I downloaded, and Mirarchi correctly asked if I had any assistance of guidance filling it out (I hadn't), I still feel it outlines my wishes appropriately. I've made clear to my wife that if there's any chance of recovery, I want her to authorize treatment.
I trust her.
I could go home and tear up my advance directive, but at some level, I have to hope that's enough.
Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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