Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Health Care Directives - Recommended New Yorker Article On Hospice Care: "Letting Go: What Should Medicine Do When It Can't Save Your Life?

One of my favorite physician writers is Atul Gatwande, a practicing physician in Boston. He recently wrote a 15-page article in the New Yorker titled titled "Letting Go: What Should Medicine Do When It Can't Save Your Life?" which focuses on the use and application of hospice care in terminal patients regardless of disease and/or condition.

In creating trusts, drafting estate plans and health care directives, we encourage our clients to think about these end-of-life issues. What would you do if you are hit with news of a terminal illness? How do you think you and your family will react as treatment choices are made or when non-treatment is chosen? How should hospice/palliative care be defined? Do you want to incorporate your wishes on these subjects into your health care directive or estate planning?

If you are given fewer than 90 days to live, do you want to "fight death" as long as possible? It may be impossible to know how you really feel about these issues unless you or another family member have gone through it. This article addresses the fact that medical insurance (including Medicare) does not pay for doctors to have extensive conversations with the family about the options and whether "fighting death" at all costs for a month or longer is worth it and how such a fight could affect the quality of life in those last months.

In our practice, we see that in our society we are often not good at helping people sort out what is most important to them when they are facing a terminal illness and helping them achieve it. This is why advance health care directives have become popular in estate planning.

In our practice, the Advance Health Care Directive identifies the individuals that you desire to act for you if you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself. The most common decision involves when, and under what circumstances, extraordinary measures should be used to prolong life. There are also sections of the Advanced Health Care Directive which deal with whether or not you desire to be an organ donor. This is part of our basic estate plan package.

It is an excellent article and it will help you think about these issues,

Hospice medical care for dying patients: newyorker.com

Posted by Henry (Hank) J. Moravec, III, a partner at Moravec, Varga & Mooney, A Partnership. For a free 30 minute consultation (telephonic or in person), you can e-mail Hank Moravec at hm@moravecslaw.com or call him at (626) 793-3210 or (818) 769-4221.

He focuses his practice on Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Administration, Beneficiary and Trustee Representation, Probate Litigation, Tax Law, and Nonprofit Law. He represents clients throughout Southern California and his offices are conveniently located for clients in the Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

With respect to estate planning and probate, Hank Moravec has over 20 years' experience as one of the best Los Angeles estate attorneys and Los Angeles probate attorneys and is available should you need legal advice regarding your own or a family member's situation. For a consultation, You can e-mail Hank Moravec at hm@moravecslaw.com or call him at (626) 793-3210 or (818) 769-4221 to request a consultation.

The firm website is http://www.moravecslaw.com/. The firm has two offices and consultations and meetings can be held at either office.

The San Gabriel Valley office is located at 2233 Huntington Drive, Suite 17, San Marino, California 91108. There is ample free parking adjacent to the firm's office.

The San Fernando Valley office is located at 4605 Lankershim Boulevard, Suite 718, North Hollywood, California 91602-1878.