In your living will, you can tell your doctor that you do not want certain treatments. For example, you may wish to not be hospitalized if you are terminally ill or perma- nently unconscious. In addition, you may decide against any treatments, which your doctor believes will not cure you, but will only postpone the moment of death by keeping your body functions going artificially. Some examples include:
- ARTIFICIAL FEEDING: If you are no longer able to swallow, your doctor may have you fed through tubes inserted through your nose, an incision in your abdomen, or intravenously (through a vein).
- ARTIFICIAL VENTILATION: Ventilators and respirators are machines that aid your breathing. Some patients become dependent on ventilators and would die without their support. In your living will, you can make it clear whether you want a ventilator if your condition is not likely to improve.
- CARDIOPULMONARY RESUSCITATION (CPR): When the heart stops (cardiac arrest), doctors and nurses use special measures called cardiac resuscitation to try to restart the heart. They may utilize heart massage, give IV medications, or use electrical shocks.
A LIVING WILL may direct the healthcare team to use any or none of these measures. The choice is yours.