Also known as “living will”, an AMD is a legal document that you sign when you’re still mentally competent expressing your wishes to the medical team treating you regarding the use of extraordinary life-sustaining treatments to prolong your life in the event you are terminally ill and mentally incompetent or unconscious.
The scope of an AMD is very specific, so let’s go into each of the elements in the definition above.
Terminal illness is defined as an incurable condition from which there is no reasonable prospect of a recovery, and for which death is imminent even if extraordinary life-sustaining measures were applied.
Extraordinary life-sustaining treatment refers to any medical procedure which serves to only prolong the process of dying in terminally ill patients and does not cure or heal the illness. It specifically excludes palliative care.
Making an AMD is completely optional, and it is a criminal
for someone to coerce you into making an AMD.
are also confidential. In fact, not even hospital doctors and nurses would know if you made an AMD. In fact, they are not even allowed to ask you if you have made an AMD. Only when you’re terminally ill and unable to make your wishes known can your attending doctor check with the Registrar of Advance Medical Directives if you have made an AMD, and if so, carry out your AMD.
An AMD is NOT the same as euthanasia (mercy killing), which is the deliberate ending of the life of a person suffering from an incurable and painful disease. An AMD simply instructs your doctor not to proceed with extraordinary life-sustaining treatment and allow you to die naturally when you become terminally ill and
suffering through palliative care and medication.