An Advance healthcare directive, sometimes called a “Living Will,” is legal document which instructs health care providers of the level of care you desire if you are unable to speak for yourself.
Under Oklahoma Law it is presumed that you would want life sustaining treatment continued including the use of feeding tubes unless a contrary desire has been communicated. The best way to insure your wishes are honored is to have a Living Will.
Avoid Family Conflicts
If you do not have a Living Will your family may disagree about what your wishes would have been. Terri Schiavo’s family found themselves in a seven-year court battle that could have been avoided if she had a Living Will. Therefore, even if you want all life sustaining treatment including feeding tubes: it is still important to make a Living Will. An Advance Directive or Living Will provides the best and legally enforceable way to communicate your instructions and avoid conflicts.
Understanding the Oklahoma Advance Healthcare Directive “Living Will”
Three End-of-Life Conditions:
The Oklahoma Form describes three “end-of-life” conditions which may trigger the Living Will if you are incapacitated. Two doctors must agree that you have one of these conditions:
For each of these conditions you may select different treatment options:
Making a choice that isn’t Permanent
Keep in mind that unless modified, some choices which include the administration of nutrition and hydration can cause you to remain alive from months or years without any quality of life. My forms include the ability to limit the length of time that life sustaining treatments are to be administered.
Health Care Proxy
A Health Care Proxy is a person you choose to make medical treatment decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make such decisions. Your proxy can make decisions but they must follow the instructions in your Living Will. It is important that you discuss your values with the person you select. Communication with persons selected as a health care proxy is important.
Organs and Tissue Donation
Oklahoma’s form includes the option to give instructions on organ donation. You can donate selected organ, tissue or your entire body. You can specify that your donation will be used for transplantation, therapy, research and/or teaching.