One of our attorneys recently met with a couple in undergoing a very unexpected and difficult situation. This couple, whom we will call Dennis and Jane, have four children. The youngest of their children, Brian, is 24 years old and was living with them while he works his way through college. Brian was a healthy and very active young man with no former medical problems.
One morning, Brian got up to start his day, seemed to lose his equilibrium briefly and then fell over. Jane and Dennis thought their son had suffered from a seizure. However, at the young age of 24, Brian had suffered from multiple strokes in the lower part of his brain – an unusual location for a stroke, and an unusual age at which to have one.
The stroke resulted in fluid that had built up around the brain. In order to drain the fluid, doctors would have to make a hole in his skull, or else the building pressure would most likely kill him. Brian was immediately flown to a hospital that could perform the procedure.
Brian is currently on life support and has been unresponsive since the time of his stroke. While the surgery did remove the pressure and saved his life, it has not restored his consciousness. An additional tragedy in this situation is that Brian had no legal documents created for him, and because he is an adult, his parents have no say in his treatment without those documents. Dennis and Jane have been forced to sit by while the legal system makes decisions on their son’s care.
In this situation, Brian was a young man in great health and no one would have expected this tragedy to occur. However, none of us know what life holds for us or our loved ones, and we must do our best to plan for its various possibilities. This is why we say that EVERY adult should have, at the least, a Living Will, HIPAA, Power of Attorney, Property Power of Attorney, and Mental Health Power of Attorney. These documents will declare your wishes in various circumstances, such as Brian’s, and will designate trusted individuals to enforce these wishes and make other important decisions on your behalf.
Do not hesitate; get these documents in place today, for you never know what tomorrow may hold. Call us at 888.222.1328 to schedule a free consultation with an MH attorney.