Monday, January 7, 2013

Advanced Health Care Directives

This is not legal advice; you should consult an attorney for legal advice in ensuring your end-of-life documents will be respected.

However, I am sharing my own Advanced Health Care Directive (in both a PDF and a Microsoft Word file format) for others to see the language I chose to use to ensure that I am not treated in ways that I do not wish to be treated. After preparing my document, I signed the bottom of each page, signed and dated the second-to-last page, and had witnesses who met the specified conditions sign and date the final page.

My own directive (a) nominates a person I trust to respect my wishes for a quick, natural death to make health care decisions for me, and (b) states my wishes to die quickly and painlessly if this is a possibility. I have used language about this being my "religious, spiritual, and ethical" belief, as it seems to me that such language is more likely to be respected than purely rational philosophical language.

I have also included language asking to be free from unwanted, offensive, etc. touching, by which I mean that any treatment beyond pain management will be considered by me to be a medical battery.

I have included a "severability clause," which means that in the likely case that my wish to die naturally is found to be against public policy and not respected, the rest of the directive should be enforced, meaning my proxy should still be able to refuse care.

Probably the biggest risk is that, contrary to all logic, the fact that I wish to die will be found to be evidence that I was not of sound mind at the time of the creation of this directive. I hope that this is not the case, but it is a real risk in our prohibition society.

I hope you find this document informative.


  1. This is a really good idea, but how often are these advanced planning arrangements actually carried out/respected?

    1. The biggest obstacle to getting it carried out/respected would be (a) making sure anybody forcibly treating me was aware of its existence and (b) somebody who wanted to get paid for forcibly treating me claiming I wasn't mentally competent (despite my witnesses) when I made it.

  2. FYI I reclassified some comments as spam because they called me a witch and said I burn kittens on the Sabbath.

    Anonymous comments, of course. Even Tituba's accuser faced her. :(

  3. Damn, I have a dedicated troll...guessing spurned former lover? Sorry guys!

    I appreciate the comment that bad comments drive out good, and hence that many of you have taken this opportunity to email me personally. Will respond when I have the time.

  4. "I refuse this treatment even if it is likely that I would survive with normal quality of life if such treatment were performed."

    I think the people who love you will have a hard time respecting this decisions. Even if you discussed your view on these matters with them beforehand.

  5. Well thought out, but I think you need to put some definitions under the preamble to conform to some standards doctors might recognize.

    When you are divorcing, dying or in prison, you are no longer a person.

    Then you are just a thing to extract revenues from, and if you are not careful, you will bankrupt your entire family on top of yourself.

    Your forethought in putting this document together is very wise.

  6. It sounds really broad.

    "should I become incompetent or unable to communicate my wishes" means it will come into effect even if the a deprivation is predictably temporary and easily treatable

    It will prevent really basic emergency treatment. For instance, if you were choking, it would make it a battery for someone to give you the heimlich maneouvre. Other common emergency life-saving intervention such as de-toxing and CPR are also prohibited by this directive.

    That interpretation is reinforced by sentences such as: "I refuse this treatment even if it is likely that I would survive with normal quality of life if such treatment were performed."

    Again, if that's what you want, then the wording's fine. I'm just making sure, since my impression is that most people who make these only want them to apply for dehabilitating conditions, not basic emergency treatment.

    Not that I approve in any event, but I just wanted to make sure that it only comes into effect when you want it to come into effect.

    1. Same Anonymous.

      I commented prematurely and without comprehending the original post. After re-reading it and reading some of your other posts, the breadth appears intentional. Please ignore my earlier post.


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