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Letter to the Editor: Make end of life plans explicit

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Friday, February 1, 2019

Do you have a loved one who is living in his or her last days? Or are you facing "end of life" issues yourself?

Are you prepared to make decisions that are required at the end of life? If not, events could happen against your wishes.

Most of us think a living will or a Do Not Resuscitate will take care of everything, but not always. The medical profession has to do everything possible to protect themselves against lawsuits. They do all they can to keep a person living unless instructed otherwise. They are dedicated to saving lives and are obliged to tell patients and families what the options are.

Before a person has an incurable disease with continued deterioration and no quality of life — while he can think rationally, he should make his wishes known and record them. Otherwise, someone else will make decisions which may not be what he wanted.

There are two choices: tell the doctor to keep him alive by any means possible, or let nature (God) take him at His appointed time. Before my husband learned he had Alzheimer's Disease, he made that decision at a meeting for seniors to learn about end of life issues taught by Dr. Doug Boyette. My husband relayed emphatically to Dr. Boyette that he did not want his life to be prolonged if he should ever have an incurable disease. He wanted to be allowed to die naturally.

Hospice at Nash General Hospital is directed by Dr. Boyette. When it was evident that my husband was nearing the end, I contacted Dr. Boyette for advice. He is a patient advocate. Hospitalization, using IV's, oxygen, etc., will prolong life. It was necessary to sign a M.O.S.T. form at the nursing home to prevent this.

No one should ever feel guilty for allowing death to occur naturally. It is a time to rejoice because the pain and suffering are over, and the deceased is in heaven rejoicing, if he is a Christian.

If you need help with end of life issues, contact Dr. Boyette, medical director of Hospice and Palliative Care at Nash General Hospital. He is a patient advocate who offers invaluable help in making those decisions.

Jean Eason Holding

Rocky Mount

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