Letter: Consider the end

Last modified: Tuesday, April 14, 2015
I write in anticipation of National Healthcare Decisions Day on Thursday, to urge all to think about how you want to be treated at the end of your life, and to take the simple actions that will ensure your wishes will be followed.

“A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare” is a document naming an “agent” who speaks for the writer when the writer is unable to speak for him/herself on matters relating to health care. It is important to speak with the agent, and other family members for that matter, to be sure one’s wishes are followed.

Would I want my heart to be restarted if it stopped? Do I want to be on a breathing machine? For how long? Do I want to be fed artificially? To what goal? Talking about these questions ahead of time can avoid the scenario of a group of people around the bed of a critically ill loved one, arguing about what mom would want.

The forms for the DPOAH can be obtained from most primary care doctors’ offices or the New Hampshire Hospital Association, or may be downloaded from the website healthynh.com. Once the DPOAH is done, copies should be sent to one’s physician, local hospital, clergy if applicable and the agent. Think ahead! No one gets out of here alive.



(The writer is family physician chairman of the Concord Hospital Ethics Committee.)