When tragedy strikes and an individual is placed on life support, the decision as to whether or not to withdraw the life sustaining measures can be devastating for their loved ones. Recognizing this, Florida has passed legislation which allows a competent adult to sign a living will which directs your wishes on the providing, withholding, or withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures in the event you have a terminal condition or are in a persistent vegetative state (a permanent and irreversible condition of unconsciousness).
It’s important that after the living will is appropriately signed that you notify your attending physician that one has been created. It’s also important to discuss your decision with your loved ones so that your choice does not come as a surprise to them.
The living will should not be confused with a do-not-resuscitate order (DNR). A DNR is a medical order that’s normally signed by a doctor directing clinicians to withhold resuscitation in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest. It does not speak to the withdrawal or withholding of any medical care other than resuscitation (i.e., feeding tubes or operations).
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