The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on October 6, 1991 · Page 130
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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 130

Cincinnati, Ohio
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 6, 1991
Page 130
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Page 130 article text (OCR)

MOFeatures the Cincinnati enquirer Sunday, October 6, 199 1 Wills 819 92 a room 2 room minimum A WHOLE HOUSE OF CLEAN CARPETS tiny 6 areas cleaned ONLY $84 of adult brothers and sisters who are reasonably available. The bill prohibits the state, other groups or non-involved persons from challenging treatment decisions. A living will cannot be used in three instances: if the person is able to make informed decisions, if the decision involves only comfort care, or if the patient is a pregnant woman unless other circumstances or health conditions exist. "Terminal condition" is defined as an irreversible, incurable and untreatable condition that, in the opinion of two doctors, offers no hope of recovery and will lead to death in a relatively short period of time if life-sustaining treatment is not given. "Permanently unconscious state" means two doctors agree that the person is irreversibly unaware of self and surroundings, medically "brain dead" and has no capacity to feel pain or suffering. A person can revoke the living will at any time. If a person becomes sick or unconscious but does not have a living will, decisions about treatment can be made, with the advice of the physician, so long as they are made in good faith with substantiating medical evidence and must be consistent with the person's previously stated intentions. If no one knows the person's intentions, decisions can be made by inferring the person's wishes from lifestyle, character and other evidence of what the person would have wanted. A living will cannot affect a person's insurance status, and insurance companies cannot influence when living-will decisions are made. about kinds of care he does and doesn't want if the living will is ever put into motion. "I think it's important to sit down and talk," she says. "Now 1 know what he means when he says, 'Let me go.' " Legal and medical experts also point out that advance directives are important for people of all ages teens, middle-agers and older adults not just the elderly or terminally ill. "This is not in any way an older person's piece of legislation," says Jesse Beasley, attorney with Pro-Seniors in Cincinnati. "This is for everyone. Nancy Cruzan was a young woman. In her case, as is often the case, people end up in these situations because of an automobile accident or some other circumstances beyond their control." Consider complications Historically, living wills have emerged as a "grass roots rebellion" against defensive medicine the medical profession's tendency to keep people alive at all costs as a way of avoiding wrongful death or negligence lawsuits, says Richard Momeyer, a Miami University philosophy professor with a special interest in death and dying. But, warns Momeyer, "It's a mistake for people to assume that because they've signed a document called a living will that they're protected from a long, protracted, painful death." Complications can arise. Circumstances can differ from patient to patient, depending on age, family status, income, overall health, will to live and religious beliefs. Technologies change daily. What is only dreamed of today in medical research labs may be reality tomorrow, he points out. "It's almost impossible for anybody to anticipate the situations that might come into play that require aggressive medical treatment," Momeyer explains. "That's why there's no legal substitute for people knowing their physicians and their physicians knowing them." At the Society for the Right to Die in New York, staff members recommend having a living will, designating a durable power-of-attorney and leaving behind written, personal instructions in case questions arise about your intent, philosophies or preferences. And even though Ohio's living will statute was negotiated by all involved parties doctors, lawyers, hospitals, nursing homes, Right-to-Life lobbies gray areas are bound to arise, ProSenior's Beasley says. "There will be a lot of confusion," he concedes. "It's a complicated statute." Among key provisions of Ohio Senate Bill 1: A previous seven-year limit on a durable power-of-attorney for health care no longer exists. Now, a durable power-of-attorney designation remains in effect indefinitely, unless the person making the designation stipulates otherwise or sets a limit. HThe only people who can challenge a decision to continue or withhold life-sustaining treatment are individuals listed in the living will or, if no one is listed, the following people, in order: a guardian, spouse., adult children who are reasonably '-available or a majority SAVE '51.15 SOFA CLEANED up to ,38s, YOU SAVE '21' You must mention this coupon to receive this offer. Coupon expires October 9, 1991 Siiiii SEAfS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1-1 undergo or the right to designate someone else to make those decisions if they become incapacitated. "We feel that death is just as much a part of life as birth, and that people need to have some say about their final weeks of life," says Dr. F. Jay Ach, a Cincinnati family physician and proponent of living-will legislation. National spotlight Advance directives were thrown into the national spotlight a year ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the parents of 33-year-old Nancy Cruzan, who had been in a vegetative coma nearly eight years after an automobile accident, could not withdraw life-support systems for their daughter because there was no convincing proof that's what she would have , wanted. A state judge finally al-l lowed withdrawal of the tubes, and ; Cruzan died in early January. Health-care experts and ethi- cists say a living will would have met the Supreme Court's stipula-; tions in the Cruzan case. ; - They also note that a living will 1 is even more effective if it is backed up by additional directives ' and one-on-one communication. " Just as important, say doctors : and lawyers, is designating a durable power-of-attorney for healthcare (DPAHC) to make decisions if you are incapacitated. Ideally, the DPAHC should be someone familiar with your preferences for treatment and non-treatment, and how : your wishes should be carried out in different circumstances. I ', Equally important is communi-I cation talking with the family ; physician, family members and at-- torney so that everyone is clear ' about wishes and desires, Ach ' says. Be realistic - "It's relatively easy to sit down and say, 'This is what I want,' but when the time comes, people aren't so sure that's what they meant," he says. "Sometimes, things have to be taken in context of the illness." Short-term use of a ventilator, he explains, can sometimes speed a person's recovery. But if a per-; son's living will or written instructions refuse ventilator support, can exceptions be made? '. "People need to know what ! their chances of recovery are and what the results of treatments they'll be subjected to will be, in a realistic manner," Ach says. "The good thing about the living will " statute is that it's made the public more aware of discussing the whole subject with the physician." I In Kelly's case, mailing a copy of his living will to his daughters 'was the impetus for discussion. Whiles says she was unclear about : the document's legal language, but she talked with Kelly at length Greater Cincinnati 1-800-928-8800 Your money's worth and a whole lot more. SATISFACTION GUARANTEED OR YOUR MONEY BACK A limited service area TYS fx nYl TItV iv i 11 i r: i i.7 Hi Gallery Table Lamp hand-painted in Italy in a popular southwestern -: motif. 7 34"h. 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