Advance directives: A gift to your loved onesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/advance-directives/MY01414
- With Mayo Clinic oncologist
Edward T. Creagan, M.D.read biographyclose window
Edward T. Creagan, M.D.Edward Creagan, M.D.
"The magic of the electronic village is transforming health information. The mouse and keyboard have extended the stethoscope to the 500 million people now online." — Dr. Edward Creagan
The power of the medium inspires Dr. Edward Creagan as he searches for ways to share Mayo Clinic's vast resources with the general public.
Dr. Creagan, a Newark, N.J., native, is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology, and hospice medicine and palliative care. He has been with Mayo Clinic since 1973 and in 1999 was president of the staff of Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Creagan, a professor of medical oncology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, was honored in 1995 with the John and Roma Rouse Professor of Humanism in Medicine Award and in 1992 with the Distinguished Mayo Clinician Award, Mayo's highest recognition. He has been recognized with the American Cancer Society Professorship of Clinical Oncology.
He describes his areas of special interest as "wellness as a bio-psycho-social-spiritual-financial model" and fitness, mind-body connection, aging and burnout.
Dr. Creagan has been an associate medical editor with Mayo Clinic's health information websites and has edited publications and CD-ROMs and reviewed articles.
"We the team of (the website) provide reliable, easy-to-understand health and wellness information so that each of us can have productive, meaningful lives," he says.
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Advance directives: A gift to your loved ones
By Edward T. Creagan, M.D.
A recurrent and important theme in the blog comments over the past few weeks has been the issue of end-of-life decisions and quality of life.
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If the stress in your life is more than you can cope with, get help right away.
One of the greatest gifts that you can give your family and yourself is a living will or advance directives to document your wishes related to end-of-life care. Advance directives guide your care in two ways:
- Naming a proxy — a person who can speak for you if you can't speak for yourself. This representative, who might be a spouse or partner, or another designated family member or friend, has the legal authority to act on our behalf in health care matters.
- Spelling out what care you want — and don't want — if you have an irreversible, life-threatening condition.
It was recently brought home to me just how important advance directives can be. While on hospital assignment, I saw a gentleman who was a professional basketball referee. While working in a summer league, he'd had a massive hemorrhage into his brain and lapsed into a coma. There was no reasonable probability of improvement in his condition, so I was asked to talk with the family concerning end-of-life and comfort measures. Around the patient's bedside were his wife and two devoted adult sons. Each was painfully conflicted as to how aggressive to be to sustain their loved one's life.
When I visited with the family the next day, they shared a document they'd found in their father's desk at home. He'd clearly written out in his own hand that he did not want any artificial hydration, nutrition, or breathing or kidney machines if there was no likelihood of improvement. This document provided tremendous relief for the family, since they now knew how to act in accordance with their loved one's wishes.
Please take time to document your wishes today. No one knows what tomorrow may bring.blog index