We encourage our clients to make plans for their healthcare by executing two documents: 1) a healthcare power of attorney which appoints someone to make decisions and 2) an advance directive that lets our clients choose what end of life care, such as CPR and tube feeding, they want. Fortunately or unfortunately, with the advent of antibiotics and tube feeding, doctors can keep us alive into the land of no-life and no-death.
In addition to these documents, in Tennessee, with the cooperation of a treating physician, a Physician’s Order for Scope of Treatment or “POST” order can be entered that accompanies the patient even when transferred. The doctor and family together can specify that they do not want the patient to be resuscitated.
The question, of course, is whether medical personnel will honor an advance directive or POST order. I have know several instances in Nashville where the documents have not been honored.
That may be about to change. A recent article in the New York Times states that doctors who override patient’s end-of-life wishes are increasingly facing legal action. The article is instructive, describing a case in Maryland and referencing several cases across the country. For those of you who are interested here is the article. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/10/health/wrongful-life-lawsuit-dnr.html?_r=0