PERSONAL BAGGAGE
A Tale of Marriage, Medicine and Murder

Do you think that having a living will on the chart hastens a patient’s death?

Answer

No, I think that having a living will on a patient’s chart is important because very sick or seriously injured people are not always able to think about what they want to have done. Everyone should have a living will, a personal will, a durable Power of Attorney, and a Power of Attorney for Health Care, because one never knows what might happen. But, when death seems inevitable, a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) clarifies what the patient, the family, and the doctor expect of the nursing staff. The order might specify drugs only, eliminating cardiopulmonary resuscitation, which comprises manual chest compressions and breathing and defibrillating, or it might say comfort measures only, as did the phone order Penny wrote into Maureen’s chart (p.193), which eliminates CPR, antibiotics, and blood products. Even if there is a living will on a patient’s chart, until the attending doctor writes the DNR order and puts into his progress notes that resuscitation would only prolong the inevitable, the hospital staff is obligated to initiate CPR.

Of course, every case is unique. Most patients and families trust the doctor’s judgment and accept his advice in this matter.

Search result for 'living will' in PERSONAL BAGGAGE

Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven
95.
"... have to put on the pads so she could shock him and someone must write the code record. “There’s a living will on this chart but I don’t see a No Code order. Is that right?” Dr. Lawrence asked Penny. “Dr. Scales didn’t want to write one,” Penny said as she tore open the plastic ..."
104.
"... and took charge, relieving Dr. Lawrence, and ordering IV Epinephrine and a fluid bolus. Within minutes, Dr. Scales crashed through the back door shouting, “Stop that! He’s got a living will!” “But you didn’t write a No Code order,” the ER doctor replied. Dr. Scales raised his ..."

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Chapter 16: Chapter Sixteen
"...you feel better. He’s irrational— narcotics make him crazy. When he’s not asleep, he’s yelling. No, everything’s under control. When we moved them up here, Dad filled out the papers to donate their bodies to Virginia Medical School instead of South Carolina, and they have living wills.” ..."
48.
"... Carolina, and they have living wills.” Penny interjected, “David, please be sure Daddy has a No Code doctor’s order on his chart. Even if a patient has a living will, without the order we have to start a code until we reach the doctor.” “Okay, thanks—I didn’t know that.... I ..."

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Do you think that having a living will on the chart hastens a patient’s death?

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"Healthcare can be murder. "Personal Baggage" is a novel from Margaret McMillon discussing the current issues surrounding the modern healthcare..."

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