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How To Decide: What Would I Want To Happen Medically If I Cannot Speak For Myself?

Circumstances That Could Happen To Consider When Preparing An Advance Directive

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Following are some basic scenarios to be considered when thinking about what could happen. If you have another scenario that concerns you or has a greater chance of occurring due to the nature of your condition, jot it down and include it as you consider your options.

  1. You are in a coma or a vegetative state and your physician along with consultants agree that there is no real hope that you will regain any more awareness or mental function.
  2. You are in a coma or a vegetative state and near death. While there may be a small chance of regaining some mental functioning, the chances are much greater that there will be substantial permanent mental and physical disability with a likelihood that death will follow soon.
  3. You have damage to, or disease in, the brain that doctors agree cannot be reversed or improved. You are unable to recognize people, to communicate with them ,or live independently. You are not in danger of death. In fact, you may artificially be kept alive indefinitely.
  4. The same situation as #3 except you also have a terminal illness which will take your life.
  5. You have a condition that is life-threatening but reversible. You are unable to make or communicate any decisions about your treatment to your doctors or family.

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