New Jersey case highlights the difficulties faced with some right-to-die decisions.
Every state has allowed the addressing of the right-to-die issue through living wills that address the person’s views on life-prolonging treatments for the terminally ill, although in New York State, a living will, unlike a health care proxy, does not carry legal weight. While living wills are popular, a recent case in New Jersey highlights some of the difficulties, according to CNN in “Woman with eating disorder dies after court grants her that right.”
Last summer, a 29-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital. She suffered from a severe eating disorder and weighed only 60 pounds at the time. She had heart failure after tearing medical tubes out on her own.
According to her court appointed guardian, the woman did not want to be forced to use a feeding tube, because she feared she might get fat. The guardian argued that she should be allowed to refuse the treatment and enter palliative care where she would not be force fed.
The court agreed and the woman has passed away.
In order to avoid having such decisions made for you rather than by you, it is important to consult with an Elder Law or Estate Planning attorney to execute a health care proxy that provides your agent the power to speak for you when you are unable to speak for yourself in the event of a health care crisis.
Reference: CNN (Feb. 22, 2017) “Woman with eating disorder dies after court grants her that right.”