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Q&A: All ages need advance directives

Debra McCormick of McCormick & Bryan in Edmond urges advance directives for all.
by Paula Burkes Published: December 25, 2012
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Q&A with Debra McCormick

All ages need advance directive

Q: Should Oklahomans have advance directives regarding their health care choices?

A: Absolutely. No matter what age, you need one if you don't want to be kept alive by artificial means and endure a prolonged, and possibly painful, death.

Q: How can Oklahomans prepare an effective advance directive?

A: You need to get the current state form and make sure you fill out every question. Make sure you have a health proxy and have discussed with the proxy what your wishes are, and that you want the proxy taking an aggressive role in your health decisions should you no longer be able to do so.

Q: Are there any other information/cautions of which consumers should be aware?

A: I suggest you include additional language explaining more fully what you want to happen if faced with a prolonged and painful death. In one recent case, a 70-year — old man, who was terminally ill and severely disabled, wanted his doctors to disconnect his ventilator given his “unbearable, degrading and dehumanizing” condition. The doctors refused to do so and even had restraints put on him to keep him from doing it himself. An appellate court in California finally determined the man had the right to refuse treatment. An advance directive should help avoid this type of issue.

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by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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