Many people are afraid of finding themselves in a hopeless condition or unconscious and connected to machines in a hospital and being kept alive artificially for a long period of time. They are afraid of pointless operations and ineffective pharmaceutical therapies. They would like to give life to their years, not years to their life.
Against this helplessness and feeling of being at the mercy of high-tech medicine, there is only one tried and tested method: Patient’s Instructions (also called Patient’s Advance Directive or Patient’s Living Will) which can be legally implemented. This involves, on the one hand, a binding unequivocal text drafted by experienced specialists, and on the other hand, an efficient organisation such as DIGNITAS which can ensure that the Patient’s Instructions are carried out, even, if need be, in the face of resistance.
For their dying phase, and for the duration of their membership, DIGNITAS supplies its members with legally effective Patient’s Instructions. These must be respected by doctors and hospital nursing staff and, in order to ensure that those instructions are carried out, DIGNITAS provides its members with the direct support of a lawyer, if necessary. However, because Patient’s Instructions are closely related to the law of the country in which they are issued, this service can generally only be granted within Switzerland.
The DIGNITAS Patient’s Instructions was rated “very good” and placed number one by the Swiss Health Magazine “Gesundheitstipp”. It’s wording can be read hereafter.
Wording of the DIGNITAS Patient’s Instructions (PDF-file)
Rating by the Swiss Health Magazine “Gesundheitstipp” June 2005 (PDF-file, in German)
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