Do Not Plug Me In

As a paralegal, I drafted many living wills, including my own. Although individual state’s regulations vary to some degree, the basics of staying off life support are universal.

Enact a living will. 

Sample Virginia Durable Do Not Resuscitate Ord...

A living will is the only universal (accepted in all states) way to protect your right to stay off life support in the United States. This instrument should contain your wishes against being placed on life support and should specifically explain which types. GI (gastrointestinal) tubes, or feeding tubes, are not generally accepted as life support. Ventilators may also not be considered life support in certain circumstances.

Be specific when listing the types of life saving measures and life support you want avoided with notation whether or not your list is exclusive.

Suggested life-saving and life support prohibition options for your list include:

Sgt. Carl Verway, native of Vancleave, Miss., ...

  • Defibrillation
  • Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation
  • Lung inflation
  • Adrenaline injection
  • GI or NG (nasal gastric) feeding tubes
  • Intebation (artificial respiration, ventilator)

All permission should be granted in your living will for organ donation, otherwise organ harvesting will be forgone. Even if your identification listed you as an organ donor, your next of kin will be contacted and permission will be sought. To avoid the delay which may render your organs irretrievable, list specific donations in your living will, including:

Organ Donation

  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Kidneys
  • Pancreas
  • Corneas
  • Skin
  • Liver
  • Bones
  • Blood

If your body is to be donated for research or a cadaver program, list the receiving facility in your living will. Attach a copy of your donation release form to your living will to expedite the process.

Execute the living will.

The instrument must be witnessed by two persons above the age of majority and notarized. File an original of the document with the probate court in your jurisdiction. Provide a certified copy to all of your physicians to become a permanent part of your medical history. Provide a certified copy to local hospitals to which you may be brought by ambulatory service to be placed in your permanent medical files.


Carry a certified copy with you where someone looking for your identification will find it, in the event of calamity while you are away from home. In your wallet, passport case or purse, are good places to carry it. Do note that some countries will not honor your living will.

Once given a living will, hospitals will place a DNR, Do Not Resuscitate, order into your medical chart. Until the DNR is issued, heroic measures may be taken on your behalf including restarting your heart and many other measures which will save your life. Those who wear medical identification bracelets should consider having DNR engraved on their bracelets.

Filing your living will with the probate court will prevent family conflict over your wishes and theirs.

Talk to your physicians and an attorney prior to drawing a living will. Execute your living will to be certain your family, your friends and your medical staff know your wishes to stay off of life support and are legally bound to carry them out.

Are you an organ donor? Why or why not?

© Red Dwyer 2011
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  1. I’m an organ donor because one life lost could save another. I’d prefer to think that death is not to be in vain.

    • Very good outlook, Laurie. I am, too. I am donating all of it. Use what you can. Dissect the rest. Red.

  2. I am an organ donor.

    Once I am gone it won’t matter what they do to the remains – I’ll be out of the picture one way or the other…

    Love and hugs!


    • So many people just do not believe this. They want everything to stay right where it is to be put into a pretty pose and put in the ground (in a thousands of dollars casket, no less).

  3. I am an organ donor, donating everything. Tongue-in-cheek, the skeleton can go to a medical school to be prominently displayed, as long as the students address the bone collection as “Mr. Kukkee”. “:))
    Seriously, Red, once the spirit has moved onto the next phase of life, the spare parts should clearly be put to good use by others less fortunate. We don’t own our physical bodies but just occupy them as a learning tool.

    • I much prefer to contribute to the used parts department than the worm food or fertilizer (ashes) department.

  4. I have been considering organ donation. Perhaps this post is the nudge I need to get moving in the process!

    • It is such a wonderful thing to do. One of my daughters has had a kidney transplant. Organ donation saves lives.

  5. This reminds me of my Monster posting,
    and thinking of those Electrodes… Ouch 🙁
    I am pleased that your daughter is well
    after receiving a kidney 🙂

    Have a lovely rest of day and evening Red 🙂

    Androgoth XXx

    • Similar in theory, Andro. Glad to see you this fine evening. I hope your night is wickedly warm! Red.

      • I am still faffing on with my Space 🙁 lol
        i just cannot find a background where it
        does not distort the fonts… I will have to
        keep hunting down the perfect blend,
        but I have added the Wolf to the header
        and it looks rather fine i think 🙂

        Thank you for your wonderful postings
        Red they are always very interesting 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

        • Have you considered backdropping the text? It does obscure the background where the text falls, but would do wonders for readability. It is what I do manually when the background is upsetting my view.

          And I do so love the wolf, be he the background or the header. Just another thought, but will keep my eyes peeled for something which may be suitable for your Gothic Lair. Red.

  6. Yes that is an interesting idea and I have done that in the past, well not in WordPress but I have several scripts printed out in that fashion and it is a very good thought for here too, I do have some darker graphics that I have used before but that Wolf is certainly one of my favourites, it is just that every time I add it as my background the complaints flood in and so for an easier solution I keep a dark background, yes a tad lazy I know 🙂 😉

    I hope that your morning has started off with a wickedly fine slant to it, here it is very windy and rather chilly too 🙂 Yes we men sometimes whinge over nothing, of course I am merely mentoining the weather… Now where is my cloak and hat, my gloves, my kingdom for some warm gloves 🙂 lol

    Have a lovely Wednesday Red 🙂

    Androgoth XXx

  7. Organ donor? yes
    Living will? Not yet. I still have mixed feelings about it simply because sometimes it’s a good outcome and sometimes it is not. I have seen it go both ways. Still considering. 🙂

    • Even if you choose not to do a DNR (I have had one since I was 20), you can still do one about organ donation. Do note, extended time on life support degrades harvestable organs. Food for thought. Red.

  8. I learned about this while I was in nursing school. A most informative post. Many people don’t begin to realize what is involved. Thanks for sharing.

    • Partly because no one wants to think about their own demise. I just happen to be that pragmatic.

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