Mistakes can happen in the ER despite your living will

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Even though you sign a living will, it doesn’t mean mistakes won’t happen when you find yourself in the emergency room (ER). Nurses and doctors rush to make judgment calls when patients are brought into the ER, so much so that they don’t fully read the instructions in the living will that you created.

One of the most common mistakes occurs when a person is brought into the ER from a nursing home or other assisted living facility with a living will. Tthe nurse tells the doctor or another medical professional not to resuscitate the patient. The nurse may not have read the living will and only assumed that it included a order to not resuscitate (DNR). Not all living wills have DNRs written in them. Some state that any actions to save the life should be taken.

Not many states record these mistakes so they can be studied and prevented in the future. One state that does record these mistakes is Pennsylvania, which dealt with 100 such mistakes in 2016. Of those 100 cases, 29 patients were resuscitated against their wishes, and two were not resuscitated despite their wishes stating they wished to be if they coded. The rest of the cases were cleared up before anything could go wrong.

One medical professional who spoke to the Washington Post said that the cause of these mistakes is that doctors and nurses do not receive enough training to interpret wills, living wills and other estate documents.

A living will is an important document that everyone should create during their lifetime and then update when they see fit. Ensuring compliance with a living will is part of the estate administration process in Fort Myers, Florida.

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