Let the awful ongoing story of Jahi McMath serve as a wakeup call to you; plan for the worst and hope for the best. Prepare your advance planning documents while you can and spare your family and loved ones the anguish Jahi’s parents are suffering with.
If you have not been following the story, Jahi is the 13-year-old California girl who was pronounced legally dead by doctors, but remains alive in the opinion of her family. She underwent surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids because she suffered from sleep apnea. Complications during the operation led her to be declared brain dead, although her heart is still beating, and the hospital wanted to remove her from a ventilator. Her religious parents have been resisting the removal of the ventilator, arguing in court to keep her connected, and have been suffering in public throughout.
Although children cannot prepare health proxies nor living wills, you can! Make sure you do. You can choose the person who would speak on your behalf regarding medical decisions if you were unable to do so yourself. You can also state your wishes if you were ever diagnosed to be in a permanent vegetative state or brain dead.
Your attorney’s job is not to judge your decisions or beliefs, but only to accomplish your goal. Whether that is removing life support measures or requiring them. The point is to prepare in advance.
Unfortunately, this story comes to the surface every so often years due to a celebrity death or a particularly upsetting series of events — either way, let it serve as a call to action – prepare your health proxy and living will and let them, heaven willing, collect dust never to come out of the filing cabinet. However, sleep easier knowing you have made appropriate plans for yourself.