Monthly Archives: April 2012

It’s Donate Life Month

This is Donate Life Month. It’s a good time to think about how you can help others. Just pledge to donate your organs, tissues and corneas to others when you die; by doing so, you may save up to eight lives and enhance the lives of many others.

Did you know that as of March 2012, there were 113,115 patients waiting for an organ donation or tissue or cornea transplant? More than 1,800 of them were children. (Source: organdonor.gov)

In 2011 there were:
14,144 organ donors
28,535 organ transplants
More than 46,000 cornea transplants

Each day, an average of 79 people receive organ transplants.  However, an average of 18 people die each day waiting for transplants that can’t take place because of the shortage of donated organs.

To learn more about how and why you should help or to sign up, go to organdonor.gov today.

Isn’t great to think that you can save others, even after you’re gone?

To find out more about end of life planning, check out diesmart.com.

Let’s talk about dying!

Today is National Health Care Directives Day.   A day to talk about death.    A day to talk about Living Wills and Health Care Power of Attorney forms, referred to as advance health care directives.

Why is it important to talk about dying and health care directives.  It’s simple.     We will all die.   However,  the way we will die will be different than the way our grandparents died.   They died fast, due to acute illnesses like influenza or pneumonia.  A government study envisions that today, 80 percent will die a lingering death from things like Alzheimer’s, emphysema, cancer and Parkinson’s.   Our children or our spouse will need to make choices on our behalf between life…and quality of life.

When having dinner with your friends or family tonight, think about that sobering number.   Three out of the four people sitting at the dinner table will die a lingering death.    Someone will need the legal authority to make health care choices on your behalf.   Someone will be hoping they are making the choice you would have wanted.

Rather than talking about the  engagement ring Brad gave Angelina….make your dinner conversation important.    Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who do you want to make health care choices on your behalf?
  • What choices do you want them to make?
  • Do you want to donate your organs or your tissues?
  • Have you completed a living will and a health care power of attorney form documenting these wishes.   If so, where are they?    In California and some other states, these two forms are combined in a single form referred to as an Advance Health Care Directive.

Your estate planning lawyer can help you complete a Living Will and a Health Care Power of Attorney form.     You have the right to complete these forms without involving a lawyer.

Hers’s some resources that may help you start the discussion:

A great presentation by Dr. Peter Saul at the TED conference called “Let’s talk about dying.”
When families can’t agree what to do:   A personal experiences described in the San Jose Mercury News:  http://www.mercurynews.com/cost-of-dying/ci_20403982/national-day-support-end-life-health-care-planning
Where Can You Get Free Health Care Directive Forms:   http://diesmart.com/elder-law/living-wills/