You’ve heard your mom and dad talking about health care directives. Joking about the day when they are stuck in a nursing home and cannot remember their own name, let alone yours. They filed their health care directives a few years ago and told you what they want to happen if they can no longer speak for themselves.
You are still in your late 30s and are unlikely to need such paperwork for years to come. Yet, think about what you see on the news. There are people of all ages in car crashes, who end up on life support machines. Others suffer severe brain injuries playing sports, while some people catch something and end up on a respirator.
You are not too young to think about your future. In New York State, there are several simple ways to clarify your wishes for health care if you are unable to make your own decision after something happens.
- A Living Will: This is perhaps the easiest way for everyone because you can specify what you want to happen in specific situations. For example, “I would like CPR, but if I am in a coma with little chance of recovery, I want the machine switched off.” Or “If I die, I am happy to have my kidneys donated to someone else, and if they need to put me on a life support system briefly to extract the organ, so be it.”
- A Health Care Proxy Form: This gives someone the power to make decisions for you. If your wife and your mom think differently, you can make it clear who gets to choose.
- A Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR): This asks emergency services not to try CPR or any form of resuscitation.
- A Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST): This specifies any life-sustaining treatments you do not want.
You don’t have to go into New York to get these forms done; your local Mount Kisco attorney can help you.