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Neurology Now:
doi: 10.1097/01.NNN.0000365446.15348.f5
Departments: Letters

Advance Directives

Kenny, Virginia M.

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Newport News, VA

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

©2009 American Academy of Neurology

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