Reasons for an Advance Care Directive
To the Editor:
In the middle of the night, the telephone wakes you and your sister tells you your father is in the hospital. She tells you you had better come. You drive 50 miles
to the hospital to find your father cannot speak and responds weakly to your hand pressure.
Your sister is praying the Rosary. Needless to say, you are upset.
Your sister, holding her Rosary, tells you the doctor wants to perform a medical procedure, but has to have permission. She said she told him she had to wait for
you, then asks you what Dad would want to do.
You tell her you don’t know, then ask her if he ever talked to her about these things. She said no, he never mentioned anything like this even though he wasn’t feeling good.
Your sister then tells you the doctor said even with the medical procedure he might not pull through, but it is his only chance. You are not only upset by your
father’s condition, now you are confused because you have no idea what he would want for medical care in this situation.
Should you say no to the medical procedure and probably let your father die? Should you take a chance, but maybe prolong his suffering needlessly? You have
no idea what to do.
This situation is the reason for an Advance Care Directive.
An Advance Care Directive can outline the medical care you do or do not wish in a crisis or “end of life” situation, and will help family members to make medical
decisions for you if you are unable to do so for yourself.
However, some Advance Care Directives may not deal with religious values. We obviously live in a secular and scientific age when medical choices might be
presented to us based upon values other than those of your religion. We should try to make certain that our values relating to the “gift of life” are respected during our “end-of-life” days and hours.
Catholics may make “end-of-life” medical choices by seeking an Advance Care Directive that their church provides which definitely outlines respect for the “gift
of life.” Protestant denominations have a similar “respect for life” direction which relate to medical decisions that should be sought in directives.
If you are Christian, you might consider speaking with your priest or your minister about an Advance Care Directive based on your religious values.