A Common Document Could Have Prevented Bakersfield CPR Drama

Posted on 03/08/2013

San Jose Mercury News:The POLST is designed for the chronically ill or the “very elderly” like Bayless, defined as anyone over 85. Printed on bright pink paper and signed by a doctor, it is a legally binding assertion of your wishes — alerting emergency medical personnel and others whether you want aggressive treatment, comfort care or nothing at all. A Harvard Medical School professor said care communities also need to take more responsibility.

“‘Continuing care communities,’ … should be more active in asking residents what their wishes are,” said Mildred Solomon, who is also president of The Hastings Center, a bioethical think tank.

CPR does not fix a stroke, but if a stroke victim’s heart stops, CPR can help her stay alive.

Is it worth trying? That’s a personal decision, but it must be shared with families and those around you, said Ellen Goodman of the Boston-based Conversation Project.

“Then those tough conversations need to be documented in some way … so there is not the guilt and uncertainty that often lingers way after death,” she said.

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