Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ask Amy: Is father’s advance directive open to interpretation?

Very wise counsel from @askingamy about honoring a father's wishes, even when the mother objects.

"DEAR AMY: My father is 91 and has dementia. He recently had a health scare. I learned he gave an advance directive with a “do not resuscitate” order to my brother several years ago.

My mother is in good health and she would miss my father if he died.

I told my brother that giving the DNR order to the doctor was condemning Dad to die and that we should follow Mom’s wishes to keep him alive.

Mom does not want confrontation and agrees with everyone she talks with, but I know what she really wants.

My father signed the directive years ago and I think my mother’s wishes should prevail. How can I get my brother to understand he is tearing our family apart by following those outdated instructions? -- Angry in Anaheim

DEAR ANGRY: If your mother agrees with everyone she talks to, then how can you be sure you know what she really wants?

If your father filled out this advance directive and DNR when he was of sound mind (and it is legally valid), then it is HIS wishes — not yours or any other family member’s — that should prevail. The whole point of instituting this directive is to ensure that the individual’s wishes are respected, and your father should be given credit for having the foresight to do this.

You are obviously having a very hard time with all of this. You should talk to a hospital social worker and family members to understand and come to terms with your father’s directive."

Ask Amy: Is father’s advance directive open to interpretation?

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