MyDirectives

Mar 18 2013

The hardest question: When is it time?

Even for seasoned health professionals and journalists, facing a parent’s mortality is never an easy thing to do. Charles Ornstein, a long-time healthcare reporter, wrote about his struggles at the end of his mother’s life, and the big question he faced: When was it time to let his mother go?

“I don't think anyone can ever feel comfortable about such a decision, and being a health reporter compounded my doubts,” Charles wrote.

Charles’ mother, Harriet Ornstein, was admitted to the hospital for nausea, and just three days later, before her family had time to get there, she laid in a coma with a ventilator breathing for her and machines keeping her heart beating.

In reality, the end of a loved one’s life is never an easy time for a family, but planning ahead, having open conversations, documenting those conversations and making sure your friends and family know where those documents are before you or a loved one becomes a patient can make the process easier and less daunting.

Everyone here at MyDirectives believes that the best way to open those channels of communication is by starting the discussion early to make sure that your wishes, and the wishes of your loved ones are respected during an emergency or at the end of life. We let people use a webcam or smartphone to post video messages which can be a huge source of comfort for families dealing with difficult issues.

Do you know someone who has had to abruptly make decisions for one of their loved ones? Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo given to ProPublica by Charles Ornstein


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Charles Ornstein ProPublica


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