by Jill Francis on August 7th, 2013

Privacy.  It’s a word that’s at the forefront of national and personal debate these days, surrounded by controversy, and dialogue as to its definition.  Do we have to sacrifice it for security?  Do we have a “right” to it as individuals?  If so, then should it be protected?  There is passion on all sides of the debate and I’m not sure any two individuals can completely agree with one another; in part, because how we feel about PRIVACY depends upon our life circumstances…and those can change in a moment.

After all, as the mother of an eighteen-year-old son, I want to have complete access to my son as he goes away to college (regardless of what he wants!); yet current HIPPA laws prohibit me from having access to him if he is injured and unable to speak for himself…unless he has an Advanced Medical Directive (“Living Will”).  What?  An eighteen (18) year old with a Living Will?  Yep.  Unless your adult (18 and over) child is married, in which case their spouse would speak for them, you can legally be refused medical access to him/her, should they be unable to speak for themselves.  It’s all about privacy and your child’s right to privacy, even while you may still be providing for him/her financially.

So what’s a parent to do?  Go to and check out the Five Wishes Advance Medical Directive.  Recognized in 42 states as a legal document, it’s written in everyday language that walks you through options for end-of-life issues.  While it may not be a “pleasant” document to fill out, it does two things:  1.  It appoints three (3) people who can act as “medical executors” should your child be unable to speak for himself; and 2.  It helps families begin discussions on end-of-life planning and how individuals wish to be treated when they are critically ill.

I will warn you…this is not an easy discussion to have with young adults who seem to be at the peak of mental and physical acuity, but life can change in a moment as my friend recently experienced when her nineteen (19) year old niece went to the doctor for pneumonia and they discovered she had cancer.

Privacy, HIPPA, rights, medical access, young adults…regardless of what you want,  what you believe, or where you stand in the debate, you need Five Wishes if you have a young adult in your life.

Posted in not categorized    Tagged with Five wishes, Young Adult, HIPPA, Privacy, end-of-life plainning, Advance Medical Directive, Living Will, Medical access


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