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How is an advance directive used in relation to euthanasia?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

An advance directive is a written document that contains your wishes regarding medical and end-of-life issues. An advance directive may include any one of three documents: the medical power of attorney, the DNR (do not resuscitate order), and the living will. These documents may sometimes be called by different names in different states or may be combined into other formats, but the content remains virtually the same. The medical power of attorney (POA) states who is legally responsible to make medical decisions for you if you are no longer able to do so. The DNR will state that you do not want any form of CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, if your heart or lungs stop. A living will clearly explains the medical, life-sustaining procedures you don't want if something happens to you and you cannot give or deny consent. These procedures may include feeding tubes, respirators, ventilators, or any form of resuscitation. An advance directive would be used to determine your wishes if you were no longer able to communicate.

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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.