By Roz Jones
If you’re a fan of any sort of prime-time television, you’ve probably seen a drama based in a hospital. Each day people are flown or driven into emergency rooms with life-threatening issues that leave them unconscious and sometimes near death. Doctors and their support staff are making a lot of life-saving decisions with very little information. Life-saving because that’s what doctors do. Save lives no matter what it takes.
That’s noble and thank goodness they have the skill sets to do what most people can’t – save and prolong life – thanks to their wisdom and modern technology. Watching your favorite television drama, the fictional characters draw you in with the chaos and extreme measures that surround saving lives.
Well, many of the storylines that make up your favorite show are based, in part, on some reality. A writer sometime somewhere knew someone or read about a situation that is similar to the story being played out on the television screen. Accidents and illnesses occur every day in hospitals everywhere. People find themselves in extreme situations needing their lives saved by people they can’t communicate with.
What would happen if you or someone you loved were injured and couldn’t communicate? Mostly, every measure to save or prolong life would be taken. This may or may not include measures that violate religious standards or might be so extreme it would freak you out. What’s more, if you are unable to speak, your family may be put in a position to make decisions for you and not every family is equipped to handle the responsibility.
There are some important questions you should ask yourself before you get sick or hurt. It can help providers serve you better and make things easier for your family. Check these out:
Question: Who do you want to make healthcare decisions on your behalf?
Question: Do you understand the types of treatments used to keep people alive?
Question: What does quality of life mean to you?
Thinking about these questions can help you make important decisions about your health and your health care. There are things you can do to make sure your wishes are known in case you are in an accident or have a chronic or terminal illness.
- Get an advance directive
- Designate a medical decision-maker
- Share your beliefs and intentions
These important steps will make all the difference if or when you need services from emergency or hospital staff. Take the time to decide what your stand is on your medical care and do something to protect yourself and your family.