Tim Bowers was able to decide for himself whether he wanted to live or die.
His decision is an important reminder of why end of life planning is so important.
Fortunately, Bowers was conscious and able to make his life choice known and fortunately Mr. Bowers had recently discussed this scenario with his family. But his situation is not the norm.
With advances in medical care, very sick people are kept alive through very painful, expensive and ultimately futile medical procedures and excruciating life and death decisions are left up to family members who may only guess, or worse, have conflicting opinions of what their loved one would have wanted.
New York University Medical Ethicist Arthur Caplan told CNN, Bowers' death "is a reminder that young people need to deal with difficult end-of-life decisions just like older adults.”
Now, more than ever, it is easier to discuss and document these issues.
Services, like those offered by finalroadmap.com, allow people of all ages an economical and flexible way of dealing with the tough question surrounding death. This allows people to document and communicate their wishes and have them immediately available for the time when they are no longer able to speak for themselves.
Planning for these situations prompts people to face the fact that death is inevitable and we all need to make clear our end of life preferences while we are still healthy. A few hours of preparation can save loved ones a lifetime of bitter feelings and remorse.
Steve Byrne is a co-founder of finalroadmap.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.