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Web letter by Keith P. Huffman: POST bill would assure end-of-life wishes are followed

We all want to make our own health care decisions. We sign living wills or other advance directives saying what medical treatments we want or do not want in end-of-life situations. When we sign our advance directives today, how do we know what treatment we will receive 20 or 30 years later when our advance directives are produced for review in our dying hours?

We believe the most important legislation facing the legislature this session is the adoption of House Bill 1182, the Indiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST). This bill ensures that the medical community will consider and support our end-of-life medical decisions. The bill gives us the right to decide whether a doctor should do everything medically possible to keep us alive, do nothing, provide comfort measures only or anything in between.

The bill directs the department of health to develop a POST form that travels with the patient from home to the hospital to the nursing home and back home. The POST form contains physician orders to help ensure our wishes for end-of-life health care are respected.

The POST form is not an advance directive. The POST form is used to make sure our advance directives are followed.

The POST form should be discussed with your doctor when you are faced with the likelihood of death within a year. The form is specifically meant for seriously ill patients with advanced progressive illness or a terminal illness. When the time comes for the doctor to care instead of cure, the POST form is appropriate.

We all want to die with dignity and have our wishes for a peaceful death honored. This legislation encourages our physician and family to work together to respect our goals for treatment. We urge you to contact your legislator and let them know you support this important bill.

The sample POST form and questions and answers about POST are available on our website at www.dhblaw.com.

KEITH P. HUFFMAN

Dale, Huffman & Babcock

Bluffton

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