A doctor who saved the life of someone who didn’t want to be saved recently wrote about the experience in the Washington Post in "I saved an old man's life. He didn't want it."
According to the article Herb Lee, 87, became extremely ill after going out to dinner and was rushed to the hospital.
Lee had made it clear to his family that should he ever become seriously ill, he did not want any efforts made to prolong his life. He did not want respirators or feeding tubes. He did not want to be resuscitated.
The medical staff at the hospital could only give Lee half treatments that left him suffering in great pain.
The doctor who eventually had to make the decision about what to do was Lee's grandson-in-law. He later wrote about it and it was published in the newspaper.
Ultimately, the grandson-in-law decided to do what was necessary to save Lee's life, so he would not linger in great pain. Lee lived a normal life for several years after that and was able to enjoy many family events.
The grandson-in-law eventually asked Lee if in hindsight, he would want his life saved if he had to do it all over again and he said no.
If you have strong desires about what you want done in a life threatening situation, you need to have it written down in an official legal document. Then the decision isn’t left to anyone else. Our attorneys at Heritage are happy to assist you in this area. Come to a free estate planning workshop to learn how! Call (724) 841-0004 or register online at www.HeritageElderLaw.com and click on the workshops tab.
Reference: Washington Post (July 29, 2017) "I saved an old man's life. He didn't want it."