living will

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living will,

legal document in which a person expresses in advance his or her wishes concerning the use of artificial life supportartificial life support,
systems that use medical technology to aid, support, or replace a vital function of the body that has been seriously damaged. Such techniques include artificial pacemakers, internal defibrillators, dialysis machines (see kidney, artificial), and
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, to be referred to should the person be unable to communicate such wishes at the end of life. A living will usually goes into effect only when two physicians certify that a patient is unable to make medical decisions and that the patient's medical circumstances are within the guidelines specified by the state's living-will law. Typically, living wills are used to direct loved ones and doctors to discontinue life-sustaining measures such as intravenous feeding, mechanical respirators, or cardiopulmonary resuscitationcardiopulmonary resuscitation
(CPR), emergency procedure used to treat victims of cardiac and respiratory arrest. CPR can be done in a hospital with drugs and special equipment or as a first-aid technique.
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 that the patient would reject were he or she able. Without clear and convincing evidence of a person's wishes (such as a living will), life support may be continued indefinitely because of hospital policies, fear of liability, or a doctor's moral beliefs, even if the family believes the patient's wishes would be otherwise. Living wills are often used in conjunction with a health-care proxyhealth-care proxy,
legal document in which a person assigns to another person, usually called an agent or proxy, the authority to make medical decisions in case of incapacitation. It is, in essence, a power of attorney for health care.
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, which authorizes a previously chosen person to make health-care decisions in the event of incapacity. Most states have legislation authorizing living wills. See also euthanasiaeuthanasia
, either painlessly putting to death or failing to prevent death from natural causes in cases of terminal illness or irreversible coma. The term comes from the Greek expression for "good death.
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.

Bibliography

See publications of Choice in Dying.

living will

a document stating that if its author becomes terminally ill, his or her life should not be prolonged by artificial means, such as a life-support machine
References in periodicals archive ?
Recalling that Terri Schiavo had no advance health care directive in place at the time of her tragic incapacitation, then, what issues did her sad saga raise about illness, incapacitation, and impending death that most or all advance directives fail to address?
In addition to helping yourself and your loved ones, you can become part of history by taking part in the world's largest advance health care directive collection drive.
This textbook focuses on probate and estate planning and administration in California and various types of documents a paralegal might draft in a probate and estate planning practice, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and advance health care directives.
When advance health care directives ("living wills") were popularized, the guiding principle was to allow patients to choose to "die with dignity:' but one man's dignity is another man's poison, cautions anesthesiologist Marilyn M.
Advance health care directives are also important documents that the clinic helps to provide to homeowners.
2; Newfoundland and Labrador's Advance Health Care Directives Act, S.

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