Advanced technology has created various means to prolong life, along with the supposed obligation to use those technologies. Often costly, these technologies may have little or no impact on the outcomes of illness. When and how that technology should be used may result in conflict. By writing a living will, some persons have said "Thanks, but no thanks" to the use of these technologies. Many healthcare professionals, however, are reluctant, because of misinformation or fear of litigation, to respect consumers' rejection of the offer of prolonged life at all costs. An examination of the legal, ethical and emotional aspects of NDAs and living wills may provide some guidelines for dealing with the conflicts encountered in practice. In addition, an awareness of personal feelings may clarify some of the gray areas involved in living wills and assist healthcare professionals to make decisions about Natural Death Acts.
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CA Ney; Living wills: the ethical dilemmas. Crit Care Nurse 1 October 1989; 9 (8): 20–21. doi: https://doi.org/10.4037/ccn19184.108.40.206
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