Let’s talk: should your doctor decide a loved one’s future?

Doctors can provide stability and support through an emotional time. When a loved one falls ill, we turn to them for authority and comfort alike.

Modern medicine has reached the point where a patient can be kept alive far beyond what could be considered “natural”. While a doctor will be trained to save life at all costs, there is a point at which this might not be in the patient’s best interests.

“There is so much we can do that can end up making the end more complicated”.

But how much decision should they have in a loved one’s ultimate future? And what happens when we’re not sure what that loved one might want? Would you trust your doctor to make a final life or death call on their behalf?

This is particularly difficult when it comes down to a choice between continued life and a dignified end – even more so when the patient is no longer able to communicate their own wishes.

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Dr. Charlie Corke, founder of MyValues, says this discussion isn’t always easy. Doctors are human, and will struggle with the decision just as a family member would.

“Interestingly, doctors say that they want patients to bring up the topic, while patients say they want the doctor to raise it.”

“As a result, neither does.”

The only way around this is pre-emptive action – which is why Starts at 60 has partnered with MyValues, a free, easy online service where your loved ones can easily record their wishes for future reference. This process will give doctors (and family members) the peace of mind that they need to make the right call.

Have doctors helped you with your sick loved ones? Or was there a conflict of interest, or were they able to help you with your decisions?