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The following is a true story that happened to dear friends of mine not to long ago and is exactly why an advance directive form is needed to be in place for everyone regardless of age or health condition(s).

Some people are confused by when an advance directive form is utilized. Simply, it is never used if an individual can give verbal instructions regarding their care. It is used only when a person cannot speak for themselves.

My friend’s husband experienced a fall, 911 was called, and the EMT’s arrived and wanted to take him to the emergency room. The husband didn’t think there was anything to worry about so he decided he didn’t need to be seen by a doctor at that time but promised his wife he would go see his doctor the next day.

The wife took him home and while he didn’t feel just right, he continued to refuse to go to the doctor. Finally, at the end of the week, he decided he needed to see the doctor but; in case you don’t know, Fridays are not the best day to get an appointment scheduled with most doctors. When the wife was unsuccessful in getting him seen by his primary care physician, she took him to the emergency room. The gentleman was admitted to the hospital that evening and the hospital staff began to run a multiple of tests.

It was discovered he needed surgery and the hospital quickly got busy and he was scheduled for surgery early Monday morning. Everyone seemed to breathe a sigh of relief; after all, he was at the hospital getting the care he deserved. My husband and I visited him on Saturday evening and even though he seemed a little pale, we enjoyed a nice visit and when we said our good-byes, he gave my husband a firm handshake and thanked us for coming. His wife came to the hospital on Sunday morning to help him get a shower and visited with him until early in the evening. He was resting so she decided leave the hospital to go put a note on the door of their business telling customers they would be out of pocket for a few days.

She was gone from the hospital for approximately an hour and a half.

When she returned to the hospital, she discovered her husband had experienced a massive coronary and had been placed in ICU and was on a ventilator. The next few days were a nightmare for the family. While the couple had talked about what they might want in case something like this happened, however; there were no documents to assist her in honoring his wishes. I saw first-hand how traumatic this can be on families. My friend died a few days later after coding on at least two occasions. While this story was never destined to have a happy ending, it would have been much better for the wife to have something in writing to help her in making important decisions. In other words, she would have known for sure how to honor her husband’s wishes.

I am attaching a sample copy of the Texas Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates for your review and also definitions concerning this important document. I strongly suggest you and everyone you love complete this form. Use caution in completing the form to insure it is completed accurately. If you have questions regarding this important document, please contact me.

Advanced Directive Form