Let’s talk: should your doctor decide a loved one’s future? 22

The Tough Stuff


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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.

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?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. You are so right Kathleen,we should all have made our ” living will” or whatever lawyers prefer to call it these days and make sure our family have a copy …foolish not to do this.

  2. We have made living wills and have a son and daughter inlay as the people to make the decision as they are both in medicine.

  3. No, no, no. I’m sooo tired of doctors making choices for people who have made their wishes known. Because a person is in care does not man they can’t think.

  4. Living Care Plans are legally binding documents which can be completed by anyone over 18 years of age. It takes the burden of making decisions away from the medical staff, family members and spouses. The important thing about a LCP is that you need to let your family and medical professionals know that you have one. A power of Attorney is not the same as a PCP as it the onus is then on the person who has power of Attorney to make the decision. You can download PCP from the net. Stops all arguments with family members as it is the wishes of the actual patient and nobody else.

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