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Why Is An Advance Directive So Important?


By Alaina Davalos, ESQ.

Sign your name on pages 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, and when you get to page 10, sign where it says “I do not have an advance directive.””

“Well, that’s not true,” I said to the nurse. “I do have an advance directive.”

“I think you’re the first patient who has ever had one!” she exclaimed.

This was a conversation I had while registering for my induction with my daughter, Aurelia, at Northside Hospital, commonly known as the baby mill. Despite being 38 weeks pregnant, dealing with insulin-controlled diabetes, and being generally terrified about becoming a first-time parent, this conversation stuck with me (because don’t all people think about their jobs at times like this!?). Every day, every week, every month, I consult Georgians about getting their basic estate plan done – a Will, Financial Power of Attorney, and Advance Directive for Healthcare. If you’ve spoken with me, you know that, while all of your documents are vital for one reason or another, I put a heavy emphasis on the Financial Power of Attorney and Advance Directive. To me these are the most important documents because if you are ever in an accident or your mental health has declined to such a point that you can no longer act on your own behalf, you need to have someone there to take care of you without that person having to go to the court and be appointed. The court is something to be avoided at all costs.

To say that I was shocked by this conversation with my nurse is an understatement. Georgia already has one of the highest mortality rates in the country and to hear that so few women who were going into labor, being induced, having C-Sections, etc., had been advised to plan ahead for this momentous event with an Advance Directive shook me. Part of the Advance Directive directly relates to pregnancy and what a woman would want to have happen to her body in the event she is pregnant and cannot make medical decisions for herself. Every woman who is expecting, trying to conceive, or could physically become pregnant needs to make this determination in advance and make sure her rights are respected. In Georgia, the only way to do this is by signing a valid Advance Directive.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]