Report Shines Light on the TRUTH ABOUT LIVING WILLS! ARE YOUR WISHES WORTH THE PAPER IT'S WRITTEN ON?
MOST STATES DON’T REQUIRE DOCTORS TO HONOR ADVANCE DIRECTIVES THAT DIRECT FOOD, FLUIDS, TREATMENT
The laws of all but ten states may allow doctors and hospitals to disregard advance directives when they call for treatment, food, or fluids, according to a report issued by the NRLC Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics April 15, 2005.
In the wake of the Terri Schiavo case, authorities have urged Americans to complete advance directives, like living wills, to state in which circumstances they would want medical treatment, food, and fluids if they become incapable of making these decisions. However, the Powell Center report charges that, increasingly, health care providers who consider a patient’s “quality of life” too low are defying these directives to deny treatment against patient and family wishes.
A national Polling Company poll conducted April 8-11, 2005 (n 500; m/e 4.5%) shows 76 % of those told “A seriously ill patient has indicated they want food and fluids but the doctor thinks the patient’s quality of life too low” say the patient should be able to receive food and fluids. Only 14% felt the doctor should be allowed to withhold them. Their position was similar concerning a patient who wants “life support” when the doctor says quality of life is too low: by 77% to 14%, the patient’s view should prevail.
Dorothy Timbs, J.D., Legislative Counsel for the Powell Center for Medical Ethics, said, “We believe most Americans will be deeply disturbed that four-fifths of the states do not clearly protect their right to choose food, fluids, or life-preserving medical treatment. It is important to fill out an advance directive like the Will to Live available on our website, here, to make your wish not to be denied food or treatment clear. However, it is equally important to work for legal reform so that your choice for life will be honored.”
Download full report: Will Your Advance Directive Be Followed?
Download chart of state laws
Download poll result graphs
Statement of Bob Schindler, Jr.
Statement of Dorothy Timbs, J.D.