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The Taxi

Imagine flagging down a taxi in the middle of New York City, getting in, and suddenly losing the ability to speak, sign or point to a map. How would the driver know where to take you? Would he try to contact one of your friends or family members to receive directions? Would he just drive according to his best guess of where you wanted to go? 

Medical patients who suffer tragic accidents or individuals near the end of life who have not established advance directives are riding in that taxi.

The future always brings uncertainty, and it is difficult to predict what accidents, ailments or illnesses will affect us or our loved ones throughout the course of our lifetime. Some things are simply outside our control.

That is why it is so important to take control of our health care and declare in advance how we would like to be treated by a doctor if we do find ourselves in a medical emergency;especially when we’re healthy.

Otherwise, we are allowing the possibility of ending up in that taxi without any way of telling the driver where to take us.

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“Respecting Choices”

NBC’s Rock Center recently aired a segment featuring the great work our friends at Gundersen Lutheran in La Crosse, Wis, are doing through their Respecting Choices program, which assists patients facing death to have honest conversations with both loved ones and doctors about which medical treatments they would and would not want as their health declines.

The segment tells the story of Paul and Jean Pearson, following Paul’s diagnosis of inoperable lung cancer. Watch their story here:

Paul’s and Jean’s courage to allow cameras in to enable us to witness their conversation is inspiring. We wish them the best and happiness.

We applaud NBC for telling this story and the entire Respecting Choices team for its tireless efforts to transform care for our elderly and frail. We firmly believe all adults, 18 and older, are best served by having an advance directive.  We shouldn’t wait until we are sick to document our treatment values and goals.  Surprises – some good and some bad – happen all the time in life and, as the Boy Scouts say it best: “be prepared.”  

What did you think of the Rock Center segment? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter