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Published by: api-26139761 on Aug 22, 2009
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 Your Life Your Choices
Planningfor FutureMedicalDecisions:How toPrepare aPersonalizedLiving Will
 Your Life Your Choices
Authored by Robert Pearlman, MD MPH Helene Starks, MPH Kevin Cain, PhD William Cole, PhD David Rosengren, PhD Donald Patrick, PhD MSPH Design & Layout by Brems Eastman & Partners Information Design Seattle 
 Planning for Future Medical Decisions: How to Prepare a Personalized Living Will
"What should we do for Dad?" 
 Your Life, Your Choices
There’s only one person who is truly qualified totell health care providers how you feel aboutdifferent kinds of health care issues—and that’s you.But, what if you get sick, or injured so severely thatyou can’t communicate with your doctors or familymembers? Have you thought about what kinds of medical care you would want? Do your loved onesand health care providers know your wishes?Many people assume that close family membersautomatically know what they want. But studieshave shown that spouses guess wrong over half thetime about what kinds of treatment their husbandsor wives would want.You can help assure that your wishes will directfuture health care decisions through the process of 
advance care planning 
"We got the kind of call we'd feared.
Dad hadbeen in declining health for months. Then he fellasleep at the wheel and was in a bad car accident.Three weeks later he was still in a coma. A breathingmachine pumped air into his lungs because he couldnot breathe on his own. The doctors thought hischances of coming out of the coma were slim. Theytalked with Mom and me about turning off thebreathing machine and allowing Dad to die naturally.I felt terrible. I didn't think Dad would want to bekept alive like this. But I knew Mom would feel guiltyfor the rest of her life if we told the doctors to "pullthe plug" while there was still even the slightest hope.We weren’t sure what we should do because Dadnever told us what he would have wanted. I reallywish we'd talked about this before."

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