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Lawyer Sites Schiavo Case as ‘Wake Up Call’ on Living Wills

An hour of time and $100 could have prevented the controversy in Florida surrounding Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman who’s feeding tube was recently removed, according to a local lawyer.

Mathew Tully, founder of Tully Rinckey & Associates PLLC in Albany, said that’s the time and cost to have a living will and health care proxy done.

“The two main issues in the Schiavo case are one — What were her wishes if she got into this condition; and two — who did she want to make her health care decisions? Both of these questions could have easily been answered if she and her husband spent one hour of time and $100 on an attorney to draft a living will and health care proxy,” Tully said.

A living will is a legal document with health care instructions. It may include a directive to physicians to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining procedures under certain circumstances.

A health care proxy is the authorization of another person to make health care decisions for a patient who becomes unable to make those decisions for himself or herself.

Tully said the Schiavo case is a “wake up call” to the public to be prepared for the worst case scenario.


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