A life-threatening condition

Isky Gordon | 29th December 2016 | Feature post

I recently met Miss A, a 32 year old woman suffering from a life threatening condition where she has severe loss of muscle power so that she can’t walk and needs constant 24 hour care. She has difficulty swallowing. Her doctor asked me to help her create her advance care plan using My Living Will.

She explained that her father had developed septicaemia and had entered into a coma from which he never recovered. Her younger brother had insisted that everything that could be done for him should be done, while she and her mother felt that he should be allowed to die when the doctors judged there was no hope.

It took months following the funeral for relations in the family to be mended, although I gained the impression that she and her brother might never completely recover their previous close relationship.  It was this experience that prompted her to write an advance statement of her preferences and wishes as well as an advance decision to refuse treatment were she to suffer a life-threatening infection.

Miss A will participate in decisions about her treatment as long as she has the ability. Were she is no longer to able to communicate, then her Living Will would become operative, and those caring for her would be able to continue to respect her wishes.

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