Pulling the Plug/ Feeding tube; Make Living Wills Mandatory to Receive Health Care
by Rob Kall
All this uproar over Terry Schiavo is taking place because she never left a written statement declaring how she wanted to be dealt with if this kind of condition arose. A simple way to deal deal with this is to make a law that requires that for a person to receive treatment for coma, a living will must be made.
The not so simple part of this is educating people about the considerations involved and then getting everyone to make their decision. It could be required with signing up for health insurance, entering a nursing home, getting a driver's license. Young men must register for the draft when they turn eighteen. Why not require that all adults fill out a living will either when they turn 18, or if they are already past 18, when they renew their driver's license, health insurance or move to a new location.
Yes, it would be a bit of an inconvenience to read the options, and more of a challenge to really think through what the options mean. But currently it is an incredibly expensive situation, and highly traumatic for surviving family members.
We know enough now to be aware of the trauma this failure to leave a living will produces. We know the enormous expense involved in maintaining people in vegetative states.
We know that even legislators who fought for Terry Schiavo have allowed their own loved ones to die.
It would be wise for leaders in congress to pass national legistlation that not only requires the leaving of a living will, but also the creation of a task force to study and create an educational program that enables the people who are required to sign such a will to be properly educated.
The party that takes up this legislation will score points with the majority of Americans.