Schiavo Publicity Puts Emphasis on Living Wills

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Terri Schiavo's case has brought to light the issue of living wills and the important role they play.

Even though David signed a living will in 1993, he still admits it's not something most folks want to think about.

David Polatis says, "Well, you know, it's almost taboo anymore even in a family itself to discuss mom and dad's demise. What would we do if there was a medical emergency? So, it's not something that come(s) up often."

It could end up forcing your loved one to make tough choices during a very emotional time.

Susan Cherry, Director of Hospice of South Georgia, explains, "That's why it's so important that individuals have discussions with their families prior to the time that they find themselves in the midst of a medical crisis."

Under Georgia law, all hospital in-patients are required to be presented with a living will or a copy of a critical conditions guide, but hospital administrators say it's not just for elderly patients. Even those who aren't in the hospital need to consider their directives.

While a living will is certainly an option, some hospital administrators say it might not be the best one.

Ken Kiser of Patient Care Services says, "The most effective process is for the physician to have a relationship with the patient, and for those folks to work as a team."

But whatever your decision, doctors say they urge everyone to plan for an unforeseen future.

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