As an elder lawyer, I all too often see aging parents ignore my advice to husband their resources and not give more to their adult children during their lifetime. My advice is sound: they can no longer work and they will need the money. Their instincts are sound, too: from conception, nature, and parents, provide for children at the expense of their parents.
I suspect that many older people would give up a ventilator to let a younger person have a chance at more life. That is not because our lives are worthless. Rather, it is because we know how precious life is, perhaps particularly a life long enough to contemplate it.
The talk of rationing by eliminating treatment for the elderly and disabled, without giving those who can make a choice an opportunity to make a considered, informed decision recalls the Nazi atrocities.
We are not Nazis.
Our Texas Advance Directive to Physicians allows each of us to choose to die as gently as possible if we are found to be in a permanent comatose state or if, even with medical treatment, we are not expected to live more than six months.
Should we not also be allowed to choose for ourselves what happens and not impose this unholy burden on legislatures and ethics committees?
Estate planning attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is active in the Texas and Austin Bar Associations. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.
She assists families of people with special needs, people planning for the retirement years and people administering estates.