A sudden accident or medical emergency could cause you to become incapacitated to the point that you cannot tell Louisiana health care providers what you want. According to Peoples Health, a living will allows you to decide and communicate ahead of time what life-sustaining medical procedures you want in the event that doctors determine you have a terminal and irreversible condition.
Keep in mind when you consider the options for life-sustaining procedures that these will go in effect only if there is not a reasonable chance that you will recover, or you are dying of an incurable condition. These procedures may include the following:
- Providing you with food and water through an invasive feeding tube
- Keeping you breathing with a ventilator
- Performing CPR on you to prevent death
You may request that your doctor add a do not resuscitate order to your medical record in the event that you do not want any medical provider to revive you if you die. This DNR is not as in-depth as a living will. It refers only to cardiac arrest and respiratory arrest events.
The procedures in your living will affect prolonging your life, but these instructions do not address whether or not you will receive comfort care. A doctor would continue to provide you with medications for pain whenever appropriate unless you specifically state in your declaration that you do not want these.
Because you have declared your wishes through your living will and/or DNR, your family cannot sue the medical provider for withholding a procedure at your directive. This general information is provided to give you a broad overview of advance directives, but it should not be interpreted as legal or medical advice.