Your article, “Get It In Writing: Advance Directives Give You Control Over Your Health Care” (September/October 2009) brought back memories.
On April 14, 1984, while in upstate New York, I made a life-or-death decision about my father. He and I had a difficult relationship and had not spoken in 15 years.
I received a phone call from a physician at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C., telling me that my 83-year-old father had a massive stroke, was in a deep coma, and that as the oldest child I needed to make a decision about whether to place him on a hospital code. The doctor suggested I call my brother and sister. My sister, a registered nurse, said emphatically not to code Dad. My brother would make no commitment.
I prayed for guidance, called the doctor, and told him I decided no code. He said I made the right decision. My father died three days later on April 17, 1984, my 57th birthday. I resolved never to place my children in that situation.
Now, residing in an assisted-living facility and with multiple health problems (including Parkinson's) I compiled a booklet containing five articles: Virginia Advance Directive, Virginia Do Not Resuscitate Order, Intent to Donate (my body to a medical school), Power of Attorney, and Will. I hope I have covered all the bases.
Virginia M. Kenny
Newport News, VA