An Indiana man chose to withdraw his own life support following a hunting accident that left him paralyzed and unable to breathe on his own. 32 year old Tim Bowers had been out deer hunting when he fell 16 feet from his tree stand crushing his C3, C4, and C5 vertebrae. As a result of the injury, Bowers was paralyzed from the shoulders down and required a ventilator to breathe. Doctors had determined that Bowers would likely not be able to breathe on his own ever again.
While still sedated, the family asked doctors if Bowers could be brought out of sedation to determine what he wanted to do. The family wanted Bowers to make his own decision regarding his life. The doctors complied and brought Bowers out of sedation. The family then explained the prognosis and asked Bowers whether he would want to continue the life support. With the ventilator tube still in place and unable to speak, Bowers shook his head emphatically no. The family then asked Bowers if he would want the tube reinserted if he struggled, and Bowers again shook his head no. Subsequently, the doctors came in and asked the same questions. Bowers gave the same responses. Doctors then removed the ventilator tube.
Bowers was able to spend the last several hours of his life surrounded by friends and family. During that time Bowers never wavered in his decision to die. The family felt comfortable knowing that he had made his own decision rather than attempting to make a decision for him.
However, so many people that are involved in serious accidents are unable to make a decision regarding their own care following an accident. Many individuals are left incapacitated and are unable to then make such a decision regarding their life. Families are often left struggling to make a decision as to what would be best for their loved one. Similarly, families may forever second guess their decision following their ultimate choice regarding the end of life care provided to a loved one. It is for this very reason why it is so important for everyone to have a living will. This legal document allows a person to give explicit instructions about medical treatment when the person is terminally ill or permanently unconscious. This legal document not only outlines your wishes for treatment, but it also can give your loved ones the peace of mind knowing your specific wishes in such a situation.
If you have questions about drafting a living will, feel free to contact one of our Tennessee living will attorneys. We would be happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding a living will.