Thursday, March 31, 2005


Living wills and wonts

Ms. Schiavo died today. May her soul rest in peace and her body be treated with respect.

I fear that a loud and highly opinionated orthodoxy (meaning only those who KNOW that theirs is the "right and true doctrine") have used Terri's family dysfunction as a platform from which to proclaim their agenda. And since powerful people (oh... like the president, for example) are in that right-righteous band, I fear that public policy will be shifted toward those beliefs and away from principles of ethics. I fear that it will become more difficult to enable dignity and grace in the end of life, and mandated to prolong needless and even horrid suffering.

I hope that advance directives and living wills become a routine part of life, a gift the robust and healthy living give to their families and to society, so that in the event that the circumstance arises that the living will is invoked, their wishes will be clear guidance.

Remember: a living will can instruct to "keep alive against all odds" as well as "remove support if the chance of quality life is small". Living wills are not a tool of the right nor left on this issue.

A month of the senior high school curriculum in "health education" could be devoted to death and dying, and a project could be to create a living will to help clarify thoughts. By age eighteen, such a living will would be ethically binding. A horror to contemplate, but deicisions about teminally injured or ill teenagers need to be made every day.

Dignity. Autonomy. Freedom from pain. End to suffering. Peace in the hearts of our loved ones.

(note the Print LIVING WILL FORM on my "links")

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