Monday, April 03, 2017

Speech #3: Living Wills

[Toastmaster Project 3. Get To The Point.  Objectives: Have specific purposes.  Project sincerity and conviction.]

Mr Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters, esteemed guests. Good evening.

Wills, living wills, DNR orders, proxies, surrogates, end of life. Yuck. Those are subjects that we mostly like to postpone till another day. The fact is that only 25% of Americans have living wills.

My purpose today is to inform you about living wills and perhaps persuade you to make one if you haven't done so already. I'll talk about that what, why and how of living wills, about one enhancement, and even the nefarious side of the system. I'll mention do not resuscitate orders DNRs, but not regular wills.

Let's begin with the what.

Your treatment by the health care system is determined one in four ways. I'll list them in order, best case to worst case.

  1. If you are awake and alert, you can tell the doctors your wishes directly.
  2. If you aren't awake or alert, your wishes are documented in advance in a living will. They might also be expressed by a loved one that you have instructed in advance as to what your wishes are.
  3. You can be treated by the legal default protocols in your state whatever that means.
  4. Worst of all, decisions can be forced upon a loved one who has to guess as to what you would have wanted.
The Why of living wills should be obvious.

On one hand, health care workers need it to cover their behinds legally to deviate from the default protocol.

On the other hand, a loved one might be forced to decide for you. He or she could be saddled with guilt and doubt for the rest of their life if they are not certain that that their decision was what you really wanted. You love them. You should never risk them being put in that bind.

You may think of living wills as something for old people. Wrong. Accidents, can snatch away your future and bring you to near death in an instant, Every adult should have one.
The how is pretty simple.

The paper I am holding up is called “Five Wishes” it is simple and straightforward. (I'll explain in a minute why I can't give yo a copy.) This document satisfies the legal requirements in Florida and 41 other states. It takes only 15 minutes to read, one hour to fill out and sign and to leave a copy with your doctor. I vigorously recommend that you take the opportunity to brief any loved one who might be called upon as a future surrogate.

The document mentions DNR, but a living will is not a DNR order. DNRs cover much narrower circumstances. The legal intricacies of DNRs in Florida are pretty bizzare. The only way you can get a DNR is to ask your doctor.

Now, what if something bad happens when you are traveling? It could take a long time to track down your doctors, your living will and your loved ones, and while waiting on that tracking you fall into the legal default protocols for wherever you are. A neat and modern enhancement is to have your living will registered on the Internet.

My state, Vermont provides a free living will registry for its residents. I sent them a copy of my living will. They send me a sticker to put on my insurance card with contact info and an ID code that health care workers can use to get instant access to the content of my living will. Not matter what else happens, you can rest assured that the first procedure the hospital will perform is a walletectomy. Believe me, they will find your insurance card. Florida, unfortunately does not have a free registry, but they do recommend a private registry. You have the link on that paper.

There are nefarious aspects of the system.

The laws of the 50 states are not uniform, nor are they user friendly, nor do they make even sense to a normal person. Misunderstandings abound even among the health care professionals in the hospital. So there is no guarantee that you wishes will be honored no matter what you do.

There are greedy people who try to make money from you. Lawyers charge a fortune for writing a custom living will. The living will registry recommend by Florida costs $59. Agingwithdignity.com forbids you to make copies of Five Wishes. They sell copies for $1 each, minimum order 1000 and the fine for illegal copies is a quarter million per copy. I got this illegal copy from my doctor, but he's rich.

But here's the point. No matter how flawed the system, no matter what your opinions, you are better off having a living will than being silent.

That brings me to you.

No matter what your age or your circumstances, you should have a living will.

You can use the link I provided, or you can get a copy of Five Wishes from your doctor.

Don't delay, do it today.

Mr. Toastmaster, thank you.


Mr Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters, esteemed guests. Good evening.

Wills, living wills, DNR orders, proxies, surrogates, end of life. Yuck. Those are subjects that we mostly like to postpone till another day. The fact is that only 25% of Americans have living wills.

My purpose today is to inform you about living wills and perhaps persuade you to make one if you haven't done so already. I'll talk about that what, why and how of living wills, about one enhancement, and even the dark side of the system. I'll mention do not resuscitate orders DNRs, but not regular wills.

Let's begin with the what.

Your treatment by the health care system is determined one in four ways. I'll list them in order, best case to worst case.

  1. If you are awake and alert, you can tell the doctors your wishes directly.
  2. If you aren't awake or alert, your wishes are documented in advance in a living will. They might also be expressed by a loved one that you have instructed in advance as to what your wishes are.
  3. You can be treated by the legal default protocols in your state whatever that means.
  4. Worst of all, decisions can be forced upon a loved one who has to guess as to what you would have wanted.
The Why of living wills should be obvious.

On one hand, health care workers need it to cover their behinds legally to deviate from the default protocol.

On the other hand, a loved one might be forced to decide for you. He or she could be saddled with guilt and doubt for the rest of their life if they are not certain that that their decision was what you really wanted. You love them. You should never risk them being put in that bind.

You may think of living wills as something for old people. Wrong. Accidents, can snatch away your future and bring you to near death in an instant, Every adult should have one.
The how is pretty simple.

The paper I am holding up is called “Five Wishes” it is simple and straightforward. (I'll explain in a minute why I can't give yo a copy.) This document satisfies the legal requirements in Florida and 41 other states. It takes only 15 minutes to read, one hour to fill out and sign and to leave a copy with your doctor. I vigorously recommend that you take the opportunity to brief any loved one who might be called upon as a future surrogate.

The document mentions DNR, but a living will is not a DNR order. DNRs cover much narrower circumstances. The legal intricacies of DNRs in Florida are pretty bizzare. The only way you can get a DNR is to ask your doctor.

Now, what if something bad happens when you are traveling? It could take a long time to track down your doctors, your living will and your loved ones, and while waiting on that tracking you fall into the legal default protocols for wherever you are. A neat and modern enhancement is to have your living will registered on the Internet.

My state, Vermont provides a free living will registry for its residents. I sent them a copy of my living will. They send me a sticker to put on my insurance card with contact info and an ID code that health care workers can use to get instant access to the content of my living will. Not matter what else happens, you can rest assured that the first procedure the hospital will perform is a walletectomy. Believe me, they will find your insurance card. Florida, unfortunately does not have a free registry, but they do recommend a private registry. You have the link on that paper.

There are dark sides to the system.

The laws of the 50 states are not uniform, nor are they user friendly, nor do they make even sense to a normal person. Misunderstandings abound even among the health care professionals in the hospital. So there is no guarantee that you wishes will be honored no matter what you do.

There are greedy people who try to make money from you. Lawyers charge a fortune for writing a custom living will. The living will registry recommend by Florida costs $59. Agingwithdignity.com forbids you to make copies of Five Wishes. They sell copies for $1 each, minimum order 1000 and the fine for illegal copies is a quarter million per copy. I got this illegal copy from my doctor, but he's rich.

But here's the point. No matter how flawed the system, no matter what your opinions, you are better off having a living will than being silent.

That brings me to you.

No matter what your age or your circumstances, you should have a living will.

You can use the link I provided, or you can get a copy of Five Wishes from your doctor.

Don't delay, do it today.

Mr. Toastmaster, thank you.










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