The Basics of a Wisconsin Living Will
By law, in the state of Wisconsin, it is actually legal for a resident to write up what the state terms as a Declaration to Physicians, sometimes better known as a Wisconsin ‘Living Will.’
What Exactly Is a Wisconsin Living Will?
The Department of Health Services for the state of Wisconsin essentially allows any resident the right to have physicians terminate any kind of life support – feeding tubes, medication, and other possible life-sustaining procedures – after a certain period of time generally designated by the individual facing a terminal condition or vegetative state. It’s this condition or state, of course, that would justify this Wisconsin Living Will to take effect.
However, even at the signing of this document, a physician may refuse to deny medications and other life supports solely on the premise that such denial may “cause pain or reduce comfort” and that the “pain or discomfort cannot be alleviated through pain relief measures.
There are other requirements for an individual signing a Wisconsin Living Will, such as….
A Valid Wisconsin Living Will Must Have Two Witnesses Present
Otherwise, the document’s invalid. Additionally, each witness must be at least 18 years old and not blood related, either by marriage or adoption. The witnesses must also not be directly responsible for the finances of health care involving the individual in question and in regards to the Wisconsin Living Will.
If the individual signing the Will has any estate or assets, the two witnesses must not have any entitlement toward it. The two witnesses, essentially, must be completely un-biased in the signing of the document. In addition, witnesses may not be the health care provider or even employees of the health care provider, such as chaplains or social workers from within the establishment during the time of the signing of the document.
Valid witnesses would also be immune to any civil or criminal liability that would suggest any accusation of assisted suicide or murder on the individual.
Some Definitions to Know About
Declaration – A written document witnessed legally and then voluntarily signed and filled out.
Department – That typically means the “Department of Health Services.”
Feeding Tube – A type of medical tube utilized for nutritional and/or hydration matters, either fed into the vein, stomach, mouth, nose, or other standard body openings.
Terminal Condition – Typically means a condition caused by an injury or disease that will certainly cause death in a specified period of time.
Persistent Vegetative State – A state of being characterized by complete and total loss of cognitive functions and consciousness.
Qualified Patient – A patient when determined by two physicians to either have a terminal condition or vegetative state. One of the two physicians must have directly treated and examined the patient.
Attending Physician – A physician that has the primary responsibility for the patient in question, and that would include responsibilities for treatment and care.
Health Care Professional – A licensed, certified, or registered individual under the health care field and under State Statutes Chapters 441, 448, and 455.
Inpatient Health Care Facility – A hospital, emergency medical center, treatment center, or any other community-based residential facility as defined in State Statute 50.01 (1g).
Life-sustaining Procedure – an action of medical use to intervene on or prolong the dying process of any patient, including respiration assistance, blood pressure maintenance, blood transfusion, and kidney dialysis. It does not, however, include the standard administration of pain-relieving medication or IV fluids for hydration and nutrition.