Be aware of state's end-of-life laws
To the editor:
I would like to share some important information regarding end of life rights or our loved ones, family and friends.
In Massachusetts we have a provision regarding our end of life health care, it is called MOLST or Massachusetts Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment. Please talk to your physicians about this for more information, but let me tell you what happened to my family.
My father lived with me for six months out of the year. He was a Canadian citizen and all of his health care was in Canada. This year his health was failing, and he wished to be with his family in Massachusetts if possible when he was to pass. He slowed down and finally was confined to his bed. He died peacefully with his family at his side holding his hand. It was the passing we had all hoped, that he would be with us, and not alone in Canada.
After he died we called the funeral home, They asked us to call the local police which we did. The police arrived and asked to see the MOLST. Needless to say, I did not have one in place, and honestly did not think I needed one. The police explained that it was the law that they had to call paramedics. The fire department came, then EMTs. They pulled my father out of his bed onto the floor, put a tube into his airway and started CPR. They also hooked him up to a defibrillator. The responders were very apologetic about having to try to revive him, but since there was not a MOLST in place they had a legal responsibility to act. My father did not revive.
Needless to say this experience was shocking, and made a difficult situation even more awful. I felt that my father's body was being violated and I feel it is now my obligation to make the community aware of the importance of having a MOLST in place, especially for our older ones or those who may be ill.
Your medical team can give you more information about the MOLST and how to obtain the form. As hard as end of life decisions are to talk about, please be prepared and educate yourself as to the law in Massachusetts.