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Your Rights to Receive or Refuse Death-Delaying Procedures

 Posted on January 09, 2017 in Estate Planning

DuPage County estate planning lawyerAs you look forward to the future, you will need to make some important decisions about the disposition of your property and the care of your dependents. These are the considerations that most people think of when they hear the term “estate planning.” Estate planning, however, also gives you the ability to make advance decisions for your own medical care and treatment so that in the event that you are disabled or otherwise incapacitated, there will be no doubt regarding your wishes.

Your Living Will

A living will is one example of an estate planning document that can be used to formally record your desires regarding the medical care you wish to receive—or not receive—in specific situations. It is a type of advance medical directive that can be used to give instructions to your medical providers as well as to any person you have appointed to make medical decisions on your behalf, such as a power of attorney.

Your living will is intended to address the possibility of end-of-life medical care. End-of-life care refers to treatment and procedures that you may receive if you have been diagnosed with a terminal condition due to illness or injury. A terminal illness or injury means that you cannot be healed or effectively treated with medical care. Death may be delayed through certain procedures but is not preventable.

Death Delaying Procedures

According to Illinois law, every person has the right to make their own decisions regarding which death-delaying procedures should or should not be utilized in the event of a terminal diagnosis. Common examples of death-delaying procedures include:

  • Surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy for advanced cancer;
  • Cardiac resuscitation/defibrillation;
  • Blood transfusions;
  • Kidney dialysis;
  • Use of respirators;
  • Artificial maintenance of metabolic rates or blood pressure; and
  • Amputations of limbs or extremities.

In your living will, you have the ability to list which death-delaying procedures—if any—you want medical professionals to use should such a situation arise. It is important to understand that while your treating doctors or hospital staff will usually honor the terms of your living will, they will not withhold food or water or take any other action to accelerate your death.

Guidance for Your Living Will

If you decide to draft a living will, you should ensure that anyone who may be involved in your future medical care is made aware of your decisions. Your spouse and your family doctor should have a copy of your living will, as should your power of attorney for health care. The first step, however, is to organize your thoughts and wishes regarding end-of-life care. For help in doing so, contact an experienced Lombard estate planning attorney at A. Traub & Associates today. We will assist you with developing a living will that can ease the burden of difficult decision-making that unprepared families often face. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at any of our three convenient locations.



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