Thursday, January 31, 2013

Advance Directives, Living Wills and the Like

A living will is another term for an advance directive for medical decisions. Living wills or advance directives are legal documents which allow you to speak concerning your wishes and desires in situations where you are unable to.  They tell medical professionals what your treatment desires are during dire medical emergencies and during end of life care.

These legal documents come in varying types.

A living will contains specific instructions regarding the types of life sustaining treatments that you wish or do not wish. They can cover intubation, feeding tubes, and the like.  You can indicate what types of life sustaining measure you wish to be undertaken and for how long. These directives act as a set of instructions which medical professionals are required to consult and act in accordance with if you have a valid living will on file with your doctor/and/or hospital.  These documents can also contain instructions regarding cremation, burial and the like.

A do not resuscitate order  (DNR) is a specific type of order that indicates your wishes to refuse cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event that your heart stops eating and/or you stop breathing.  You can indicate whether you wish to be resuscitated and for how long those efforts should continue.  

A Power of Attorney for Medical Care is a document that allows a particular person whom you have named as your agent, to make medical decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so. This allows the agent broad powers to make many types of medical decisions on your behalf.  Choose someone whom you trust implicitly. Choose someone whom you know will make the decisions that you would want made. Discuss these decisions with the agent so that they know what your wishes are.

Since a living will cannot cover all types of medical emergencies, it may be prudent to have a combination of advance directives on file, especially if you are near the end of life or are entering the hospital for surgery or other medical procedure.  

There is a lot of information out there.

For a site where you can download directives applicable in the state you live in, look at a site called Caring Connections . The downloads are in a pdf format and are free.

As you plan ahead, share your wishes with your family and friends. Let them know what you desire.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Read before you sign

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 Corunna Coal Company 1890 Union Contract

We live in a society that values orderliness. We like to know whose turn it is to proceed when we reach a four-way stop. We like to know what to expect in a given situation. This is the benefit that law can provide us. We like to know what is expected of us.

If A, then B. If A happens before D, C happens. If no A, no B, etc.

We enter into contracts all the time. Today, as never before, our lives are lived in an online world. We sign up for a service online. We buy products online. We "agree" to the terms of service without ever reading them.  We sign a document placed before us without reading it.

We bind ourselves to unknown terms. We enter into contracts blindly.

In California, and in other states. If you have signed it, you are deemed to have read it. That means you cannot plead ignorance to the contents of any document you sign. If you have signed it, if you have agreed to its terms by "clicking" a box.  You have read and agree to all the terms therein.

So if the document says we will not pay you until a week from Sunday on a blue moon on the wane, you cannot expect payment until that time.

So do yourself a favor, and take a moment and actually read the document you are getting ready to sign. And if you don't understand something it contains, ask them to explain it. It may take a few moments more, but it will save you a lot of grief later.