Citizens' Issues
When You Are ‘Dead’, while Still Alive
Dad collapsed at lunch. We were at home and rushed him to hospital. One of Bombay’s best doctors, son of mom’s friend, immediately examined dad, on the lobby floor. ‘Khotto sikko chey,’ he said. A ‘counterfeit coin’. He gave us two days, to make ‘preparations’. Did dad have a Will? No. Was he going to make one? No. Frankly, his love for us was worth more than the billions he could not give. We simply did not care. 
 
Should our family have been worried? A definite ‘Yes’. A big ‘YES’. We have had a lot of seminars at Moneylife, dealing with Wills. The one thing we learn from them is that we cannot foresee everything. We have to do the best we can.
 
Dad, being dad, came home a month later. But we knew better. A wooden nickel. Did we do anything then? No. A month later, we were back in hospital. This time, we knew for sure. The doctor asked us to forego all artificial resuscitation. It may then last for years, he explained. Mom agreed. No suffering.           
 
We kept vigil. Day and night. One night, while I was sleeping on the bench in the corridor, a junior doctor, uninformed, started resuscitation. By then, dad was in a coma. When I awoke, I panicked. Dad was entombed in equipment, cylinders, pipes and meters. I called our doctor. We had agreed on letting him pass silently into the night.
 
You be the judge. What should the doctor have done? He refused to withdraw the tubes. Tantamount to murder, he explained. No matter what, it could not be done.
 
This is where a ‘Living Will’ comes handy. A bit of a misnomer, the Will is not alive. It is a set of instructions drawn up, in case of an emergency, usually a medical situation. Means and methods to be set in motion when the ‘testator’ is not able to care for himself. While a Will ‘speaks from the grave’, a Living Will speaks when the deponent, while still alive, is unable to speak for himself.
 
A Living Will must be carefully drawn up. Think of everything possible. Where is the money to come from? How much is to be spent? Who will have access to it and how is it to be allocated? What of Mediclaim? Will the insurer play ball? Is your doctor in the know and has he been consulted on the medical costs and possibilities of care? Most importantly, does the Will specify, if so desired, that artificial means must not be used under any circumstance? Have you indemnified the person whom you have entrusted to ‘execute’ the Living Will? He could face a lot of flak just by following your instructions. Is there more than one agent to do your bidding? Always wiser to appoint a second line of defence, an arm’s length person. A close relative may be involved in the same accident as the deponent. 
 
Then there are religious rituals that one may need, when close to death. These need be detailed, priests named. If one has donated one’s organs, someone needs to inform the hospital or agency when the end arrives. Eyes, especially, have to be recovered immediately, to gift their sight to others.
 
There is always the possibility that the hospital, fearing legal reprisals, may not follow your instructions. Make sure that the matter is cleared beforehand with the hospital and its lawyers. Maybe leave a copy with the doctors or the hospital management.
 
Above all, consult your lawyer, especially one who understands the special and specific implications. Have you signed the document? The law is silent on the need for witnesses, but it is best to get the attestation done. Take due care. Dad was put off the ventilator when he stabilised. He passed away one night, two months later, peacefully in his sleep. 
 
For those who may want to prepare a Living Will, let us pray that it is never put to use. Also remember, it has no legal sanctity as yet, but it acts as a guide for your loved ones and your doctors on what to do, if you are no longer capable of spelling it out yourself.
 
Bapoo Malcolm is a practising lawyer in Mumbai. Please email your comments to mail@moneylife.in

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COMMENTS

Sunil Rebello

1 year ago

YES.. I understand..the Law is not on our side.
it is only the love of our loved ones who can take decisions for us when we are not capable to do so.
we had 2 cases in the Hospital near by.. a poor patient.. who was admitted late evening - brain dead, after a massive heart attack. the NGO who she was under wrote a letter to the Hospital management, the next morning informing them that she was a person in need and cannot afford to pay any Hospital Bills. FYG she was kept 3 days more on the ventilator and she passed away peacefully. No Doctor or Family could take the decision to take her out of the support system. No Bill yet from the Hospital.
the next case was a high ranking person admitted to the same Hospital in the same situation. He also was kept in the same situation for around 12-15 days. His hands and feet started swelling, but no Doctor or family could take a decision the man passed away and they were hit with a Hospital bill running in Lakhs.
It is a very hard decision but we as family of our near and dear ones should take difficult decision with much empathy and prayer. Looking at the best interest of the patient.
Lastly there was the case of the raped nurse at KEM who was kept under similar situation for 16 years by interested parties. But who to blame?

YOGEESH RAO V

1 year ago

can you give me a draft of a Living Will and how to go about it...

Sunil Rebello

1 year ago

Dear Money Life,
can you give us a draft of a Living Will and how to go about it..
Best Regards

REPLY

Bapoo Malcolm

In Reply to Sunil Rebello 1 year ago

No. That's not possible. Have clearly written that you need to consult a lawyer. The matter is too dicey. The article shows you a possibility, an introduction. We do understand that "everything" is available on the net. And it's FREE ! But as my father-in-law used to say,"Whatever is free is always very expensive". Please think of the possibilities, the permutations and the combinations.

The day this article was published, a newspaper article talked of doctors refusing to acknowledge Living Wills. You may try with a 'draft', yourself; most of the points are given, but, if you fortunately survive, you may face loads of troubles. Litigation, too, maybe.

Even I, who is making his own living will, am facing problems of compliance. Maybe, I could then circulate it. But it can never be copied as each will be so different.

Sorry!

S A Narayan

In Reply to Bapoo Malcolm 1 year ago

Currently in the absence of acceptability of living wills, doctors and hospitals are ever ready to put patients on ventilator or other intrusive and aggressive intervention as long as they are assured that the bills will be paid. People are seeking legitimacy of living wills more to state what they dont want doctors to do just to keep a body alive at any cost. Therefore medical costs etc issues and insurance complications etc for medicare may not arise. I presume that access to money etc during course of treatment and thereafter would be be available to jt./ac holder to discharge obligations of payment.
In anycase thwe maker of the living will must take a few near and close relatives, spouse into confidence and seek commitment to comply at the right time. But the draft bill expressly says that the living will will not be binding on doctors. that must be made to change.

Bapoo Malcolm

1 year ago

Moneylife has been bringing, to its readers, legal topics much ahead of their becoming important. The latest issue talks of the very problem that is in the Times this morning. That of euthanasia. Moneylife readers should take this opportunity to put forward their views on living wills and their mandatory implementation just as normal wills. Will try and get the agency and its address to whom one may write.

REPLY

S A Narayan

In Reply to Bapoo Malcolm 1 year ago

The address is passiveeuthanasia@gmail.com
If more and more people submit suggestions re legalising 'living will' govt will have to listen.
The address to send suggestions is passiveeuthanasia@gmail.com

What's in a name! Rishi Kapoor sparks Congress outcry
Veteran film actor Rishi Kapoor on Wednesday sparked off a Congress outcry after he launched a scathing attack against the grand old party of India for naming Indian assets and government projects after its icons from the Nehru-Gandhi family.
 
In a series of tweets, Rishi Kapoor urged the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to re-name the assets that the Congress has named after the Gandhis -- Indira and Rajiv.
 
“We must name important assets of the country (after those) who have contributed to society. Har cheez Gandhi ke naam? (Everything is in the name of the Gandhis?) I don't agree. Sochna log! (Think people!)," Rishi Kapoor tweeted.
 
"Change Gandhi family assets named by (the) Congress. Bandra/Worli Sea Link to Lata Mangeshkar or J.R.D. Tata Link road. Baap ka maal samajh rakha tha."
 
He also questioned why Delhi's airport was named Indira Gandhi International Airport. "Why not Mahatma Gandhi or Bhagat Singh, Ambedkar or on my name Rishi Kapoor. As superficial."
 
The Bollywood actor apparently took a thread from Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh’s demand on Tuesday that New Delhi's Akbar Road, where the Congress headquarters is located, be renamed after Maharana Pratap.
 
“If (names of) roads in Delhi can be changed, why not Congress assets/property ke naam? Was in Chandigarh, wahan bhi Rajeev Gandhi assets. Socho! Why,” the actor said.
 
The 63-year-old actor demanded that "Film City (in Mumbai) should be named (after) Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Ashok Kumar ya Amitabh Bachchan? Rajeev Gandhi udyog kya hota hai?"
 
The comments sparked off a furore in the Congress, with Gandhi loyalists slamming the actor.
 
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the actor had no “role to play in the public life”.
 
“Last time I heard of him was in the movie ‘Bobby’. It is not worth to comment on,” Tewari told reporters in Delhi.
 
Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam in Mumbai said that Rishi Kapoor needed to learn history as he apparently had failed to realize the contributions the Gandhi family had made to build the nation.
 
He said he had sent Rishi Kapoor a list of Indian airports that have been named after Maharana Pratap, Shivaji Maharaj and Lal Bahadur Shastri.
 
“There are some who open their mouth for the sake of power and such people have a narrow mindset,” Nirupam added.
 
Congress spokesperson P. C. Chacko didn’t name the actor but said people were targeting the Gandhis "to get into the good books" of the ruling BJP.
 
“They want to please somebody in power. They can have it but not at the expense of the Congress. We don't take it seriously and it is not worth any comments at all," Chacko said in Delhi.
 
Rishi Kapoor said his father Raj Kapoor, a legendary Indian showman, has made the country proud more than “what has been perceived by politics”.
 
The actor’s view was supported by his Bollywood colleague Anupam Kher, known for airing his views rather brazenly. He stressed the importance of recognising "legends" from other fields like the arts, cricket and cinema.
 
Anupam Kher lauded the Narendra Modi government, saying that they don't 'have any yojna (scheme) after any political leaders".
 
“Rishi Kapoor is a very forthright person. He has not necessarily said all the right things but why should we attribute a reason behind it and make it less important by immediately coming to a conclusion that this is a political statement. It is not a political statement.”
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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COMMENTS

Bapoo Malcolm

1 year ago

For those who wish to find me, here is my latest address. 31, Krantiveer Vasantrao Narayan? Path, originally Krantiveer Vasantrao Narayan? Road, aka K V N Naik Path, originally Forjett Street, off Jaojee Dadajee Marg, aka J D Marg, originally known as Tardeo Road, (Yes, It was named after a DEITY!), Mumbai, originally known as Bombay, India, aka Bharat, aka Hindustan.

Just name them by numbers, North south 1,3, 5, and East West, 2, 4, 6, etc. in Block A, B, C, etc. Those will remain forever, no matter what they are called with every change of Government.

Quality of life? Deteriorating, aka Who cares?

Many years after our street was renamed, a taxi driver, staying there for long years, was surprised that is was actually his own Forjett Street!

Bapoo Malcolm

1 year ago

As for Chaco's comment, could not agree more. But then, we need to have an Uncle Tom's Road. In every place. Multiple remembrances. All inclusive; film stars, journalists, poet dads, fawning NGO heads, ex-Armywallas, political 'rebels', laid-off babus, et al.

Bapoo Malcolm

1 year ago

Jawaharlal had categorically stated that no monuments be named after him. It was not followed.

All parties are in the naming mode. Even when not in power, as a quid pro quo. Not only that, the names are so terribly long. The effect then gets lost. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus is CST; a corporator even demanded that no tickets be issued to those who used the abbreviation! But then we have a fascination for verbosity. In the end we have MG Road, SV Road, (originally GB Road for Ghodbunder Road). VP Marg, for both Vitthal and Vallabh. I stay on KVN Naik Path. For Krantiveer Vasantrao N Naik Path. I believe the second 'N' stands for Narayan. Thirty years later, it still goes by its old name, Forjett Street.

The best thing to do is to not name anything after anybody, until 100 years after they are dead and gone. If they are remembered then, they deserve to be named.

AND KEEP THEM SHORT.

Param

1 year ago

i always used to wonder what a pilot like sanjay gandhi had in relation to borivli national park, or pm like jawahar lal nehru had in relation to hyderabad zoo or even indira gandhi had in relation to vizag zoo. did they fund it, build it, sanction it or even visit it???

Merge five SBI associate banks into one entity: AIBEA
The All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) hopes the government accept its demand to merge the five associate banks of State Bank of India (SBI) into one entity, said a top union official on Saturday.
 
AIEBA general secretary C.H.Venkatachalam also said the union has called for a strike on June 7 and July 28 this year to press for the merger demand.
 
He also hoped that the boards of the five associate banks - State Bank of Travancore (SBT), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH), State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ) and State Bank of Patiala (SBP) - and also that of SBI would consider that proposal.
 
"Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also opined that the five associate banks of SBI could be merged into one thereby creating a strong entity," Venkatachalam told IANS.
 
He hoped the boards of the six banks in their next meeting would consider the merger proposal.
 
"Though on principle we are against consolidation in the banking industry, in the case of five associate banks, we prefer the same instead of each one merging into SBI," Venkatachalam said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

MG Warrier

1 year ago

At this stage, all stakeholders should think in terms of restructuring the Indian Banking System with the stability of the financial sector, interests of the nation from the economic growth angle and protecting the interests of the depositors, borrowers, employees and shareholders of banks.

Roy Aranha

1 year ago

before merger knock off the flab and make these banks accountable like the private banks enough of bullying by the unions who are crippling the system no children of those in service should get employed into teh banks let them compete with the others too

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