The doctor asks: "What would you like to do?"
And we inevitably answer: "Do everything possible to keep Aunt Mary alive."
The majority of the time that is the wrong answer. The person making the decision is often condemning their loved one to days or weeks of needless suffering often against the expressed wishes of the patient.
But how can we know, at that heart-crushing moment, what to do?
There is only one good answer but it now comes with some powerful expert information. The answer, of course, is to talk about death now. What do you want near the end? Put it in writing in a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and be sure the person you designate to make your decisions if you cannot, be sure they understand your wishes and are capable to actually pulling the plug.
But here is the information you and your loved ones need now. What kind of decisions do doctors make when they are faced with such end of life choices for themselves. The answers will shock you, they almost never take the extreme measures available to them. They have seen how hundreds of people die in the hospitals while being "treated" for the inevitable end and they make other gentler choices for themselves.
Read How Doctor's Die and get your close family members to read it as well. Then talk with them and get your health care documents in order.
"Of course, doctors don’t want to die; they want to live. But they know enough about modern medicine to know its limits. And they know enough about death to know what all people fear most: dying in pain, and dying alone. They’ve talked about this with their families. They want to be sure, when the time comes, that no heroic measures will happen."