The Terry Schiavo situation created a stark image for many people and drove home the point that if you do not want your life to be sustained artificially, then you need to create the legal framework for that ahead of time. The news gave many people the inspiration to create Living Wills. However, it is just a few years later, and those Living Wills might no longer be very effective.
Medical technology is rapidly blurring the lines between what is a terminal condition with no chance of recovery and what isn’t. Living Wills tell doctors what not to do if you have such a condition. However, the technology is developing so quickly that doctors cannot easily make the judgment call today. New technology often creates a glimmer of hope for recovery, however slight.
If you have a Living Will, you should review it with an attorney to see if there is a way that you can make it effective in the face of advancing technology. You should also create a Health Care Power of Attorney so that a trusted person can make medical decisions when you are not able to do so. Tell him or her what you wishes are in different scenarios, so that those wishes can be communicated when the need arises.