Unplugged: Reclaiming Our Right to Die in America

By William H. Colby | Go to book overview

CHAPPTER 10
My “Living Will”

I DO NOT HAVE A LIVING WILL. I don’t believe I can anticipate all of the maladies that might befall me or the potential treatments that might or might not help. More importantly, a written living will cannot advocate for me. When the time comes for making hard decisions about my care, I want a breathing, reasoning advocate, one who understands everything I’ve said in the last chapter. A piece of paper can’t really do that.

The President’s Council reported that fewer than 25 percent of Americans have filled out a living will, and the report also cited studies showing that, of this small percentage, 16 percent of those documents made it into the patients’ medical charts.1 If those numbers are right, then only 4 percent of patients in hospitals have living wills in their

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