The New Year’s Talk Every Family Needs to Have

Posted on 01/04/2013

The Huffington Post: A year ago, out of the blue, my wife became critically ill. When my son arrived in the ICU waiting room, I told him that his mother and I had previously discussed what each of us desired to do should we face such a difficult situation. Thankfully, she recovered and is now back to taking care of everyone else.

As a neurologist, I have consulted with many families who also faced a family member’s sudden, desperate illness. An unexpected event changed their family’s lives in less than a second. We have to ask these families to make decisions on how much care we should provide and to tell us what their loved ones would or wouldn’t want done. These families must not only absorb all of the new information about their loved one’s condition but also too often “guess” what their loved one would want them to do. Unfortunately, many of them had never talked with their loved one about such a difficult situation.

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