Student (MSci Computer Science), Copenhagen University

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In the event that you would become too sick to speak for yourself, have you chosen someone to speak for you? If not, why?

I believe that the headline is rather self explanatory, so please go ahead and answer the question as truthfully as you can. I have put this under debates as I believe different viewpoints will be stated and disagreements will arise.

It's a topic that is extremely hard for many people to cope with but at the same time I believe that it is one that should not be overlooked.

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    Mar 31 2012: This is an important issue in an age of death denial. Most healthy people do not give serious consideration to death or dying as an inevitable phase of life. Only a minority of adults have a will and many couples only discuss the issue when getting married or organising insurance i.e. it's a one off discussion.

    I believe in living wills that express your wishes about a range of possible situations involving your personal mental incapacity - coma, dementia... Although a partner should be aware of your wishes, I would ask a trusted friend to act as my voice, supported by the living will document. However, I don't know how much faith to place on such a document since doctors and the law tend to be guided by the wishes of the next of kin. Medical staff would find it difficult to switch off life support in line with your wishes, but counter to your partners wishes.
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    Mar 30 2012: Both my husband and my daughter know and accept my plan. The conversation is brought up regularly so that new thoughts can be expressed and considered. I support euthanasia.
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    Mar 28 2012: Of course I have. And I made sure it was not a member of my family. Those people would keep me on that stupid ventilator until the flesh was falling from my bones. No way am I letting that decision with them. Besides, they will have other things to worry about. I have seen many families struggle with those end of life decisions and the undo stress it causes at a difficult time in their lives. I would not want my family to have to worry about that.
  • Apr 9 2012: I have selected my oldest nephew, however, it has changed over the years and I do have a formal legal document for this. Each year I revisit this document to determine if the person that is going to speak on my behalf, would still be able to carry out my wishes. For example, it used to be my sister and then she became very religious. With her new religious views, she could no longer separate my wishes from her own.
  • Apr 2 2012: Interesting thought. Stephen Hawking pretty much has that arrangement if I understand his situation correctly. As to me: I don't think anyone, even close family, could bring forth my innermost thoughts and feelings. We have lawyers, a "living will" which prohibits extreme measures to prolong our lives, and trusts set up to take care of our personal and property needs in such a case. Don't want the kids squabbling over my library. But as for my thoughts and insights from a lifetime of reading, studying, trying to figure things out and write a book about it, I've pretty much left it up to that. (I'm 64, btw, if that gives any context to this.)