Will you carry the death card?

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The new controversial "right to die" card is now being offered to anyone who wishes to decline treatment in a medical emergency.

However morbid it sounds everyone has had that thought "If I was in an accident would I want to be kept alive with a poor quality of life or would I rather pass away?"

Now you have the right to decide, by carrying the "right to die" card. This card is very similar to a donor card and can be kept in wallets or purses.

The card refers to an Advance Directive should you lose the ability to make the decision for yourself.

Some believe that this card is a short-cut to euthanasia and others believe it’s a viable way of applying the Mental Capacity Act.

The card not only allows you make advance orders, but enables you to give preferences about your treatment and care.

Dr Andrew Fergusson, a pro-life campaigner states "One of our concerns is that the things people want when they are well are very different to those they want when they are unwell. Their values change".

These cards should not be taken lightly and anyone who decides to carry them should think long and hard about steps you are taking.

The dangerous nature of these cards is that the Government is promoting them not only to adults, but teenagers as well who can use them without parental consent.

Sian Thompson of Simpson Millar LLP believes "Cards such as these will alert medics to obtain the more detailed Advance Directive from your family or GP before continuing with treatment that may prolong life, but not necessarily improve it. It will not prevent emergency treatment from taking place."

"The Mental Capacity Act which came into force in October 2007 makes hospitals and paramedics respect the patients written wishes contained in an Advance Directive. This document should be carefully thought out. It usually states that you wish to be kept as comfortable as possible, but not to try to treat you, if in the opinion of 2 doctors, you are unlikely to recover."

"The Advance Directive can cover numerous situations and so be written to cover very specific illnesses. This allows people to plan ahead in case they are not mentally or physically able to communicate their decision at the relevant time. "

"I have known this to assist a cancer patient as the hospital did not undertake a third futile operation but instead revived the patient sufficiently for him to say a dignified goodbye to his family before he died. This gave them a lot of comfort."

"Sometimes decisions are not black and white. A more flexible approach is to make a Lasting Power of Attorney relating to your personal welfare. This appoints up to 4 attorneys (usually family members) to make decisions if you are not able to and this can include decisions on life sustaining treatment. Provided you trust your attorney (and why appoint them otherwise) make sure they know what you want and they decide the best course of action at the time."




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