Nelson Mandela’s condition is described as ‘perilous’ according to Court documents and reported by CNN. The litigation involved where three of Mr Mandela’s children should be buried and ended when a Judge ordered them exhumed. They were moved from a “compound” owned by Mr. Mandela’s grandson to his own home village. This is a family that might be prone to litigate.
In the meantime, Mr. Mandela is diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state and being supported by all of the medical resources and science available. CNN advises he does not have a ‘Living Will.’ Will his physicians allow his family to decide when to allow him to die or will they make the decision? Should there be special considerations for this particular man, the icon of his homeland and one of modern history’s as well—and if so, what are they? Perhaps he has suffered enough for others?
Disputes about when to discontinue life support add unnecessary misery to the dying process. They arise within families and between families and health practitioners. In the meantime, an incapable patient may linger beyond when he or she would have continued to value life—if anyone knew the patient’s views. This sadness can probably be avoided with proper planning—which involves discussions with whoever will be making your decisions when you can’t. The article below might help focus your thoughts. I wrote it for another venue but I think it’s helpful.
Talking about Mr. Mandela’s plight is a good fulcrum from which to segue to your own wishes, values and beliefs—as well as those of your loved ones.