The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

380 APPENDIX TWOessentially dead patient is pumped full of drugs, stabbed with dozens ofneedles, and jolted with electric shocks. Our dying moments are closelydocumented by heart rate, levels of oxygen in the blood, brain wave readings,and so forth. Finally, when the last doctor has had enough, this technohysteriacomes to an end, 2You may not wish to have life-support mechanisms or be resuscitated,and you may want to be left undisturbed for some time afterclinical death. How can you ensure that your wishes for the kind ofpeaceful environment recommended by the masters for dying will berespected?Even if you state your wishes about wanting or refusing certainkinds of treatment in the hospital, your requests may not berespected. If your next of kin does not agree with your wishes, he orshe may ask for particular procedures to be started even while youare still conscious and able to talk. Unfortunately, it is not uncommonfor doctors to comply with family's wishes rather than those of thedying person. Of course the best way to have some control overyour medical care when you are dying is to die at home.In some parts of the world, documents known as Living Willsexist, through which you can state your desires for treatment in casethe time comes when you can no longer make decisions for yourown future. These are a sensible precaution, and help doctors if theyare faced with a dilemma. However, they are not legally binding, andcannot anticipate the complexities of your illness. In the United Statesyou can draw up what is called a "Durable Power of Attorney forHealth Care" with a lawyer. This is the most effective way to stateyour choices and ensures, as far as possible, that they will berespected. In it you name an agent, a legal spokesperson who understandsyour attitudes and wishes, who can respond to the special circumstancesof your illness, and who can make crucial decisions onyour behalf.My advice (as I indicated in Chapter 11, "Heart Advice on Helpingthe Dying") is to find out whether or not your doctor is comfortablehonoring your wishes, especially if you want to have life-supportmeasures withdrawn when you are dying, and you do not wish tobe resuscitated if your heart stops. Make sure that your doctorinforms the hospital staff and has your wishes written onto yourchart. Discuss the issue of your dying with your relatives. Ask yourfamily or friends to request the staff to disconnect any monitors andIV lines once the process of dying has begun, and to move you froman intensive care unit into a private room if feasible. Explore ways inwhich the atmosphere around you can be made as quiet, peaceful,and as free from panic as possible.

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