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Posted on November 28, 2019 at 3:00 AM

Health systems across the country are encouraging families to talk about end-of-life issues, like the importance of having a living will, when they gather for Thanksgiving.

Appropriate to the season, a Pennsylvania paper ran this story about Erie emergency medicine physician Ferdinando Mirarchi who has published a lot of research showing that living wills and other end-of-life forms sometimes aren’t enough.

“There is still a lot of confusion on the part of medical providers on how these forms are interpreted…. Patients at the end of their lives are getting invasive and painful treatments they don’t want, and even more importantly, they sometimes don’t receive the medical care they need.”

To mitigate these errors, Mirarchi founded the Institute on Health Directives that helps people create video testimonials in which they describe in detail the end-of-life care they want. The videos clarify each patient’s desire for end-of-life care. Patients are given identity cards with a QR code that medical providers can scan at the hospital to access the video.

I defend broader use of video advance directives in a forthcoming issue of the SMU Law Review.

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