Card-Carrying Cadaver


advance directive

File this between your ACLU card and your AAA card.*

Available in "pubs, banks, libraries, GP surgeries, even some churches, the Advanced Decision to Refuse Treatment (ADRT) card sits snugly in a wallet or purse and instructs a doctor to withhold treatment should the carrier lose the capacity to make decisions, because of an accident or illness."

Oddly, these cards are being offered by a U.K. city council, but private groups offer the same service in the U.S.

* OK, that would be a pretty weird wallet, since the card is only available in the U.K. But you get the idea.

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  1. Like the National Health Service needs another excuse to work less and cut costs.

  2. I finally know what to give my congressman for christmas!

  3. You mean the U.K. hasn’t made it mandatory yet?

  4. In NHS, treatment refuses you!

  5. It’s cheaper and less painful that tattooing “DNR” on your chest.

  6. One of the Nature journals (Nature Neuroscience, I think), once made available a tongue-in-cheek card to give to animal rights activists that declared that they wished to refuse any treatment developed or refined using animals. Given the level of animal rights activism in Britain, the NHS could have handed these out and gotten a greater effect, saving more even more cash they don’t have.

  7. What ever happened to the catch phrase “no heroic measures”? I like that better, it seems to say “Please don’t leave me lying face down in a ditch, but if you can’t revive me for less than the cost of say two years of med school, save it for someone else”.

  8. Overkiller wins the thread!

  9. I was unaware that most people have the intrinsic medical knowledge to treat themselves. But then again I could just be shilling for Big Socialized Medicine.

  10. What is it with people treating the dead as though they were functional lately? Yesterday we had Obama addressing our “many fallen veterans, some in this crowd” and now this.

    I think it’s a sign: the zombies are coming… and our governments know.

  11. Naga,

    I’m not a mechanic, but I know when repairing my car is not worth the effort.

  12. Warren, I was thinking more something like “Please do not use public funds to treat me. Any options covered by my private insurance are fine.” I’m in socialized medicine Finland.

  13. instructs a doctor to withhold treatment should the carrier lose the capacity to make decisions, because of an accident or illness.

    As described, that’s really overbroad.

    I mean, if you’re in a car accident, unconscious but with good brain waves and a strong heart (an excellent prognosis if treated) but you’re bleeding pretty good, you really want to bet your life on waking up before you bleed out?

  14. I agree, overkiller has the honors so far, but E. Smirnoff gets a solid honorable mention.

  15. Believe you me, anything that reduced the need for treatment, the U.K. government is going to get behind…

  16. File this between your ACLU card ….

    Ain’t got one of those.

  17. RC Dean,

    The FA says that the cards are intended to aid in the practice of the rights protected under the Mental Capacity Act.

    The act states that the determination of incapacity must be made on the basis of probability. So if you lose consciousness in an accident, but you’ll probably make it with treatment, the card doesn’t come into play.

  18. Why do I have this image of Brazil and cards being planted on unlucky accident victims?

    [hoskins]”Whoop. We can’ go treatin’ this one now, can we? ‘E’s got one them ‘go on and let me die’ cards on ‘im! Right, now that’s finished, let’s nip off to the pub for a pint or 2…”[/hoskins]

  19. Patient comes into the ER incoherent and bleeding. Heartbeat erratic. What physician is going to say, “Wait! Where’s his wallet?”

    Have these people not heard of MedicAlert bracelets?

    because of an accident or illness

    So if you get mugged, you’re SOL?

  20. I see Larry sort of beat me to it, but I’m fairly certain ER staff aren’t rifling through the belongings of those patients with potentially life-threatening conditions before starting treatment. Their job is to intervene first and ask questions later.

    Make out a living will and make sure your surrogate knows your demands. A card that anyone could have put in your wallet isn’t going to stop treatment.

  21. The card isn’t great, because it is very vague. Refuse treatment in which circumstances? Would you opt for palliative or hospice care? I am a medical student, and I encourage patients to have an advance directive, and to tell all their friends and family about it, so they can find it in case a major decision has to be made. You also designate one person who is responsible for making unforseen decisions on your behalf. Many people choose family or friends, but some people choose the doctor, because they’re afraid that (especially religious) family will be unwilling to pull the plug, when the time comes. Your doctors should have a copy of the form, and I also found one here: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=prob&group=04001-05000&file=4700-4701

  22. Cor blimey! Katherine Mangu-Ward left her purse on the bar. Let me just slip this card in there as a bit of a larf. Phwoar! Blimey! Cor!

  23. Wacko = you’re much funnier parodying yourself

    But, on topic = I for one am looking forward to the forthcoming ethical suicide parlors next to your local Howard Johnson’s

  24. “What ever happened to the catch phrase “no heroic measures”? I like that better, it seems to say “Please don’t leave me lying face down in a ditch, but if you can’t revive me for less than the cost of say two years of med school, save it for someone else”.”

    Actually, it just means you don’t want The Ghost Who Walks to save you.

  25. My Mother suffers from congestive heart failure. Currently her heart is working at about 30%. There is nothing that can be done for her beyond making her comfortable in her final days. Despite this fact, the Doctors involved STILL wish to take invasive steps to try and discover if the meds they are giving her are having any positive effect. My mother has refused. I only hope that, when my time comes, I can face the end with the grace and dignity that my Mother has shown these last few days. The medical profession may know all kinds of things about the human body, and what makes it work, but many of them seem to know very little about human beings. Sorry, folks, but I needed to get this off my chest. Good night.

  26. Winter,

    It is a shame that Med School doesn’t include classes in Bedside Manner.

    Sorry about your mom. God Speed.

  27. Winter Soldier –

    Take it from someone who is in the medical-legal business –

    You need to get your mother sign a health care power of attorney, if she still can – not a regular one, but one specifically designated by your state to allow you (or whoever she names) to make health care decisions if she is unconscious. That is the best way you can make sure her wishes are followed.

    If your mother can’t sign a power of attorney, get yourself appointed her guardian for purposes of making medical decisions.

    You can also talk to her doctors. The magic phrase, if they are getting all uppity witcha, is that “treatment against the expressed desires of the patient is assault.”

    Good luck, and God bless.

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