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Living Wills and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Orders

When it comes to personal medical care, we all want to feel empowered to make choices that fit with our beliefs and desires. But if we become incapacitated or slip into a coma, unless we’ve already set in place a Living Will, the power for making medical decisions pertaining to our health may pass to other individuals who may not have our best interests in mind. At Phelps LaClair, we’ve helped countless clients create a Living Will that keeps the power of personal medical decisions firmly in their hands for the rest of their lives, regardless of circumstances.

What is a Living Will?  

A Living Will is a legally binding document that delineates a person’s preferences in the event that they become unable, for whatever reason, to make their own decisions. Should you become terminally ill, permanently unconscious, or too feeble to communicate to medical personnel about your treatment, a Living Will does the communicating for you and gives doctors the legal right to carry out your wishes. By creating your Living Will, you also give yourself peace of mind about end-of-life decisions. Living Wills can spare added expense, forego unnecessary delays in medical decisions, and give you the right to refuse medical treatment, even when you’re unconscious. Each state has differing laws about the proper execution of Living Wills, including Arizona, which is one reason Phelps LaClair strongly recommends setting up your Living Will with the help of experienced legal counsel.

The Purpose of a Do Not Resuscitate Order

Should your health decline to the point where your heart stops beating or you stop breathing, a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order allows you to choose whether you want to be brought back to life through cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). A doctor writes your DNR before an emergency occurs and keeps it with your medical charts. Your DNR does not deal with any other medical decisions, like medicines or medical treatment, but only with your wishes concerning resuscitation. If you do want to receive CPR in the event of an emergency, you don’t need a DNR. But if you choose not to be brought back to life, you’ll need to have a DNR on file.  

Should a DNR be Added to My Living Will?

If you want to establish a DNR order, it’s crucial for your Living Will to state that your DNR is on file with your doctor. Clearly stating your DNR orders as part of your Living Will avoids confusion or delay in the event of an emergency or incapacitation.

At Phelps LaClair, we know end-of-life choices can be difficult. Through our thirty-five years of experience we’ve helped countless clients make their end-of-life decisions beforehand so that when the time comes, clear and unwavering medical action can be taken on their behalf. If you’d like to discuss options for your Living Will, give us a call. We’ll give you all the tools you need for making tough decisions wisely.


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (2/11/2018) David (Flickr) 

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