I know what choices I’ll make at the end of life, should I tell my doctor?

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Barbara Coombs Lee
Hospice Nursing
At Compassion & Choices we often tell people to interview their doctor. If you wonder about end-of-life options, it’s time to discover if your doctor’s values and beliefs match your own. You might like some clues now to what your doctor’s approach might be later. What kind of question would get your doctor to open up?
I recommend starting with a positive, upbeat declaration that, by gum, you feel healthy, you love life and you intend to savor its fullness as long as humanly possible. But you also believe in preparedness, and you’d like to make sure the two of you would be on the same wavelength in an end-of-life situation. Try one of these questions: 
  • Doc, if I had an illness that looked pretty grim, would you consider my quality of life more important than ensuring I live as long as possible?
  • How would you feel if I wanted to take a pass on the heroics and let nature take its course?
  • I wouldn’t want my family fighting over keeping me alive if I were in the condition of Terri Schiavo, with no chance of recovery. How would you handle a situation like that?

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.