Why Decisions Should Be Made Before Terminal Illness

1096 words - 5 pages

Introduction
Many people are afraid to make decisions concerning their wishes when they die. This includes fear of making wills and making critical decisions that affect lives of others when they are not there. When the patients are terminally ill, they become incapable of making these decisions and they are often assisted or directed by some external forces to make these decisions. This paper exploits options and conditions of different terminally ill patients with a keen look at their mental and health status. It is also going to explore on those patients with DNR (Do not Resuscitate) orders and advance directives.

Health and mental status of terminally ill patients
Terminal illnesses like cancer, HIV, Ebola Hemorrhagic fever and Lesch-Nyhan syndrome deteriorate the health of the patient to a point of no return. They also cause a lot of pain to the patient. When these patients health deteriorates, their capacity to make sound decision is compromised. Poor health leads to deficiency of minerals that help in thinking, a condition which greatly reduces the capability of decision making. The mental status of terminally ill patients has lesser capacity to make sound decisions as compared to a normal person. When a patient is diagnosed with a terminal illness, the mental status changes and in many cases the patients think negatively of themselves. This compromises their capacities to handle normal activities including decision-making. They sometimes react in a manner that causes outcry to the concerned parties. Some patients have gone to an extent of committing suicide while others act to harm their loved ones. This leaves the patient with little option of making the right decision as their decisions are negatively biased. A terminally ill patient with schizophrenia, Alzheimer or Parkinson’s diseases is not in normal situation to make sound decision. These conditions affect the mind and therefore their decision-making.
Terminally ill patients with and without DNR and Advance Directives
When a patient is under the DNR, no CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is required and therefore the patient is left until they stop breathing (die). DNR is usually given to seriously ill patient who has no chances of recovering. This is done when CPR seems not to work. The patients at this condition have no capacity to make any decision (Chen, 2012). Their family members, the medical staff or the state government can make their decisions. Their decisions can be based on whether they had given signals about the concerned issue or if there is any documented evidence of what they could have wanted done. If these fail, the medical staff can make decisions on their behalf bound by ethics and regulations of medical practice. Patients without DNR can be resuscitated and therefore allowed to make decisions.
Patients with Advance Directives (AD) have an option in decision making as they present their choices through an attorney for health. They have written what should...

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