Advance Medical Planning – January 25, 2013 Meditation
“The Bitter End”
Since this past August, as you are probably aware, I have taken a position at a major hospital here in Charlotte as a Resident Chaplain. Because of that responsibility my blog postings and some of my temple work has needed to be cut back some.
As a Resident Chaplain part of our time each week is spent in education and a larger portion is spent in the clinic actually visiting patients.
Some of our education time these next few months is focused on Ethics in a medical setting and on advance medical planning. One of the functions Chaplains perform in our hospital is to assist patients and families if they wish to fill out two legal documents; one called a Healthcare Power of Attorney and the other frequently called “Living Will”.
I am talking about this today because I personally feel it is important first that people think about what their views are on the kinds of medical care they would want to have in the event they are unable to speak for themselves. I also believe it is important for that information be available to those family or friends who may be placed in a situation to need to make such decisions.
Sadly, all too often what we see in the hospital is patients and families who are unprepared for the medical situation that confronts them and are left with uncertainty. Sometimes this not knowing results in family arguments where different people who love and care for the sick person have differing views about how to accomplish what is best while only guessing at what the patient who is unable to speak would have wanted.
Here is a short little audio podcast from one of my favorite radio shows that talks about some of the choices we each should consider. I am putting it here because it offers an interesting perspective on what doctors think about some of the care they provide for patients which people do not frequently have an opportunity to hear.
My overarching aim for writing this today is with the hope that as Buddhists who believe in making the best possible cause today for the best outcome in the future it really seems to make the most sense to consider now what we would want our future to look like.
I hope you enjoy this short 20 minute audio file.