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Health Crisis and End-Of-Life Decisions Conversation

April 18, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Let’s get together to make a hard conversation easier: what do you want to happen with your medical care if you are critically ill? How can you make sure that what you want actually happens?

This isn’t designed to be a lecture! We’re humanists. We think deeply about ethics and don’t have a single unifying idea of what’s right or wrong at the end of life. I’m planning for this to be a facilitated conversation where we all listen and ask questions about the practical, the sublime, and everything in between. As we teach our kids: I can learn from everyone.

It also isn’t just a conversation, it’s a workshop. I want everyone who needs them to leave with some draft documents and a concrete plan for how we will complete them. Some of the things I plan for us to talk about:

What’s involved with being on a ventilator, feeding tube, or another extraordinary life-prolonging measure? How successful are those kinds of interventions?

What kinds of procedures would be provided in an emergency vs. a long-term illness?

What do I want to ask my providers to do and not do if I’m critically ill?

Doesn’t my spouse, partner, or parent automatically get to make medical decisions for me if I can’t communicate with my providers?

How do I talk with the people I want to make decisions if I can’t about what I want?

What steps can I take to make sure my wishes are followed?

What do I want to happen to parts of my body that can be used in transplants when I die?

What’s involved with giving your body to science?

How would I like my body to be dealt with when I die? How would I like my life to be honored?

What can I do to make sure the person I want to make arrangements for my body/funeral is the one who will?

What about financial decisions when I’m incapacitated or after I die?
If I have a will, do I need anything else?

All of these are really just variations on a single question: What can I do to make the hardest thing as easy as possible for the people I love?

I am by no means an expert in answering all of these questions, which is why I’m relying on the awesome collective knowledge of the YELs. What I am an expert on is the documents that make the answers you have for yourself concrete. I haven’t been a licensed attorney in 5 or 6 years, so I can’t give legal advice, but I can give advice from my personal experience…which is having taught hundreds of people, a lot of them attorneys, about how to make and protect end-of-life decisions.

If you have other questions you want to add, please do! You can post them here or anonymously here.

Let’s make some coffee, some mimosas, and some wise decisions!


April 18, 2020
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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