Monday, March 10, 2014
As I have previously discussed, Belgium became the first country to lift all age restrictions on euthanasia. Terminally ill children in Belgium can now request euthanasia if they are near death and suffering from “constant and unbearable physical” pain with no available treatment.
There is now speculation that Belgium may become a new destination for “death tourism.” Opponents of the law argue Belgium has opened its doors to death-seeking visitors, much like Switzerland. Belgian legislators counter that the long and complicated process of requesting euthanasia will not permit such tourism.
See Cecilia Rodriguez, Will Belgium’s Legalized Child Euthanasia Trigger Death Tourism?, Forbes, March 6, 2014.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
If you’re lucky, you’ll get five days off of work after the loss of a loved one. But what happens when you return to work and the real grief sets in? Here are a few thoughts on how to deal with the loss of a loved one when you still have to work:
- Be kind to yourself. Take the time off that you need. And allow yourself to work at a slower speed. Ask others for a little help, and by the same token, offer your help to those you know are struggling with a loss.
- Action is key. Don’t get stuck in darkness and despair. Instead keep focused on things outside of you and your grief. As Andy Dufresne said in Shawshank Redemption, “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”
- Honor your loved one. The passing of a loved one tends to give you perspective in recognizing what matters most to you and what you’re spending your precious time on. But don’t let this fresh perspective lead you to make brash changes. Take some time before re-evaluating life’s goals.
See Paolina Milana, Grief at the Office: How to Deal with the Worst When You Still Have to Work, Forbes, Feb. 28, 2014.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
In order to conclude a massive four-year class action lawsuit, Eden Memorial Park has agreed to a settlement worth an estimated $80.5 million.
The Jewish cemetery in Mission Hills, Los Angeles, was alleged to have ordered workers to disturb existing graves to fit in new coffins. This disturbance allegedly included breaking concrete coffins and dumping some of the human remains that fell out. The tentative settlement, set to be finalized mid-May, calls for parent company Service Corp. International (SCI) to distribute $35.25 million to plaintiffs and fully refund class action members wishing to disinter buried family members.
See Jared Sichel, Eden Memorial Park Settles Lawsuit in $80.5 Million Deal, Jewish Journal, February 28, 2014.
A woman’s mummified body was found in her garage at least six years after her death.
Nobody in her quiet neighborhood in Pontiac, Michigan, noticed anything unusual. Her bills were on auto-pay until her bank account ran dry. After the bank holding the woman’s mortgage foreclosed on the house, a worker who was sent to repair a hole in the roof made the grisly discovery. The woman’s body was sitting in the backseat of her car with the key halfway in the ignition.
See Jethro Mullen & Kevin Conlon, Woman’s Auto-Payments Hid Her Death for Six Years, CNN, March 7, 2014.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Walter Williams is back from the dead.
After mistakenly believing he had died, Willams’ family called the coroner to his Mississippi home. The coroner said Williams had no pulse and pronounced him dead.
The next day, workers at a funeral home were preparing to embalm Williams when he started to kick inside the body bag. The coroner believes his pacemaker stopped working and then started again. Williams, a farmer, is happy to still be alive.
See Mississippi Funeral Home Finds Man Alive in Body Bag, The Guardian, Feb. 28, 2014.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Research shows that 70 to 80% of elders do not have advance directives giving instructions about end-of-life care. Here are six documents everyone should have in place:
- Medical power of attorney. This document allows you to appoint an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so.
- Living will. This document details which medical treatments you do and do not want undertaken if you become incapacitated.
- HIPAA form. This document gives people access to your private medical records.
- Financial power of attorney. This document, which goes into effect immediately after it is signed, gives someone the right to access all or a portion of your finances.
- Letter of instruction. Give your loved ones information about how to conduct your funeral services, whom to contact after you die, and whether you want to be buried or cremated.
- Last will and testament. Name your executor, appoint a guardian for your children, and determine who will receive your real estate, personalty, savings, investments, and digital assets.
See Kimberly Leonard, 6 Decisions to Make Before You Die, U.S. News, Feb. 26, 2013.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Facebook will now offer users the opportunity to obtain a video montage of lost loved ones.
This move comes in response to a Youtube plea by a grieving father requesting to see his late son’s “Look Back” video, a minute-long compilation the company offers to all its users. After receiving many additional requests for such videos, Facebook will now have a page where loved ones can request them.
Facebook is also changing its policy regarding “memorial pages.” Before, only a deceased user’s Facebook friends could view these profiles and leave tribute messages. Facebook will now allow anyone to see memorial pages if a user permitted this before they passed.
These changes represent Facebook’s attempt at finding a balance between respecting a deceased user’s privacy and allowing family members access to mementos of their loved one.
See Jeff John Roberts, Facebook Will Provide “Look Back” Video to Dead Users’ Loved Ones, Gigaom, Feb. 21, 2014.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Coffins should always leave the house feet first.
If the body leaves feet first, then the deceased will be unable to “see their way back” to the home and become a restless spirit.
See Memento Mori Images, Death Superstitions, Facebook, Feb. 20, 2014.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Most people don’t like to think about end-of-life decisions, but the case of Marlise Munoz should be a wake-up call for everyone to take the necessary steps to make their wishes known. This can be accomplished with an Advance Health Care Directive, which is is a simple document authorizing one or more individuals to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to.
Some states like Texas and Illinois will automatically invalidate a pregnant woman’s end-of-life decisions. However, other states like Maryland allow women to write their wishes regarding pregnancy into their Advance Health Care Directives.
See Cheryl Jones, Lessons from Real Life: Why Everyone Needs an Advance Health Care Directive, JDSupra, Feb. 11, 2014.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Advance healthcare directives allow individuals to specify their desired outcome in circumstances wherein they are medically unable to make their own decisions about end-of-life decisions. Over 50% of surveyed Americans want to retain the ability to make such decisions, but only 43% have shared their desires with family members, loved ones, or friends. An even lesser 25% have actually created an advance healthcare directive to provide for their end-of-life decisions. These figures were compiled through a Google Consumer Survey collected by Pixld, LLC, in February of 2014.
See, What Is An Advance Healthcare Directive?, Cook & Cook, Feb. 17, 2014.