Dr. Stanley Terman has provided a very insightful analysis of the President's Council on Bioethics' report, Taking Care: Ethical Caregiving In Our Aging Society. His detailed suggestions for wording Advance Directives are very important. While it may be Utopian to hope, as Dr. Terman proposes, that governmental agencies (such as motor vehicle departments) might require individuals to complete Advance Directives, it would be a major improvement over our present laissez faire policy of ignoring this issue. I am very supportive of responsible strategies to encourage individuals to complete such documents. The book's final story, She Revised her Advance Directives from 16 to 86, clearly illustrates how our views can change as we age and mature, and as our situation changes. Clearly, we need to update our Advance Directives on a regular basis. --Janet D. Rowley, MD, DSc; President s Council on Bioethics member; Albert Lasker Clinical Medicine Research Prize recipient
People think if they do not die instantaneously in a car accident or from a heart attack, they are going to be caught between two undesirable options--either to be attached to machines for a very long time, often in a state of unconsciousness with no reasonable hope for recovery, or, at the other extreme, to commit suicide or get someone to murder you so that you can end it all more quickly. In a wise, medically well-grounded, and even witty book, Dr. Terman explores the middle course: refusing tube feeding and hydration --Elliot N. Dorff, Rabbi, PhD; Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, University of Judaism; author of Matters of Life and Death
From the Author
Start at the beginning and read everything, or if you prefer. . .
A) Read the book-within-a-book. Page 4 explains how to skip flagged portions to reduce the number of pages to just over 300.
B) Focus on Patient Stories and Legal Cases for discussion, Humorous Stories for fun, or Guidelines and FORMS for personal planning. The Table of Contents list all these Titles on pages xxv through xxx.
C) For a quick overview, read ten pages: "She revised her Advance Directives from age 16 to 86," and "Which documents do I need when?" on pages 383-389; and The Seven Principles of Good End-of-Life Decision-Making on 427-429. View thirst-reducing products on 104.
D) Delve into such general topics as the medical, legal, religious, or family aspects of end-of-life planning. The Table of Contents can guide your choice of chapters.
E) Implement a legal alternative to Physician-Assisted Suicide. You can avoid prolonged unbearable pain and suffering at the end of life as long as you are mentally competent. Read the answers to questions D, & numbers 1-9, 16, 19, 20, 32, 34, 36, 38, & 40.
F) Prevent years of indignity & dependency from Alzheimer's disease, vegetative states, or persistent unconsciousness. Learn how to set the stage now so others will honor your wishes in the future, if you no longer can speak for yourself. Read Chapter 3 and the answers to questions numbers 20-22, 25-31, 40, 41, and 43-45.
G) Expand your knowledge.