Monday, 5 October 2009

Living Wills

An Advance Directive, is a document in which an individual lays down instructions as to health-care management and treatment to be applied in the event of their incapacity to make such decisions or convey such instructions at the time of occurrence of the circumstances envisaged. In different states in the USA there is some diversity of definition between 'Living Will' documents, 'Advance Directives' and 'health-Care proxy' documents, but the Voluntary Euthanasia Society (VES) in a careful study of the matter perceives no need to impose such distinctions. They suggest that 'Living Will' is a concept sufficiently understood to be generally used.

The Limitations of a Living Will

The popular view that a will is inviolable is not true, even in the case of a property will, and conditions which are contrary to established law or public policy cannot be enforced. This is certainly the case in the Living Will instance, since such a will cannot instist that a doctor or anyone else should put the Will-maker to death.

What do doctors think about Living Wills?
The medical view as expressed by the British Medical Association, is that a Living Will may be welcomed as an opening for the discussion of the difficult questions raised by terminal illness, and considerable use has been made of them in the context of AIDS care and counselling. neither the BMA nor the AIDS support agencies, the Terence Higgins Trust and Milestone House, nor the Association for Palliative Medicinesee any need for legislative change.


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