The Terri Schiavo case is tragic whether or not you believe her feeding tube should be removed. But much of the fighting could have been avoided if she had a living will.
Attorney, Mike Middleton says the document could make it easier for you and your family.
"A living will is a very personal document-you don't have to have one but if you don't have one its pretty much left up to the family and physician to make a decision." says Middleton.
A living will and medical power of attorney are two options you have should you ever become unable to make your own decisions. They are legal documents in which patients express their wishes about the kind of health care they want to receive...in advance.
"Generally its just a statement of your own accord of what you want done and not done-instead of leaving that decision for someone else to make." says Middleton.
The living will applies only when two doctors determine the patient is either in an irreversible coma or is suffering from a terminal illness and is unable to make decisions.
Don Breland offers spiritual care services at Saint Joseph and he says many families, like the Schiavo's feud over what to do...all because nothing was ever discussed.
"Families are under a tremendous amount of stress and especially if patient is not able to express their wishes and family has to make decision all on their own." says Breland.
Breland adds if Terry Schiavo's case does nothing else than to encourage folks to talk about this in advance...then that's truly a gift in itself.