Our Greatest Virtue
What do Americans consider to be our nation’s greatest virtue?
It’s not our government, which in recent years has all too frequently seemed on the verge of grinding to a halt amid the partisan bickering and policy deadlocks. Nor is it the economic system or health care, which have sparked inflammatory debates and polarized the nation.
It’s our individual freedoms, according to a recent survey from Gallup.
Yet despite this, people tend to avoid dealing with one of the most imperative freedoms.
As Dr. Dan K. Morhaim, the deputy majority leader in the Maryland House of Delegates (also the author of “The Better End” and an ER doctor at Johns Hopkins) wrote in a recent piece for the Huffington Post:
We Americans cherish the right to make our own decisions. In light of this ardent individualism, it's puzzling that so few of us exercise this right when it comes to something almost all of us will face: medical care at the end of our lives.
No one wants to think about their own mortality, or a time when they might be unable to make their own decisions. But advance care planning and discussions with doctors about end-of-life care are important to protecting the individual rights and choices we hold so dear. That’s why we believe everyone from the age of 18 should have a digital directive – regardless of their health situation.
Advanced medical directives can allow individuals to assert control over their life and keep their voices heard even when they can’t speak.