President and Mrs. Bush Have Living Wills

First Lady Laura Bush revealed that she and the president have living wills.

First Lady Says She and President Have Living Wills (NYT)

Laura Bush said on Tuesday that she and her husband have living wills that would guide medical decisions if either of them became incapacitated like the Florida woman whose case has dominated public debate for weeks. Mrs. Bush, speaking to reporters on a flight to Afghanistan, called it a “very, very difficult time” for the family of the woman, Terri Schiavo, but said she was “encouraged” to hear that the case had spurred others to create living wills.

“I hear the numbers of people inquiring about living wills or writing living wills increased dramatically, and I think that is really good,” Mrs. Bush said. “The president and I have living wills, and of course our parents do, and they wanted us always to be aware of it. I think that is important for families to have an opportunity to talk about these issues.”

Susan Whitson, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Bush, declined to elaborate on what directives are in the Bushes’ living wills. Many include “do not resuscitate” orders in cases where the patient has no hope of recovery or requires extensive medical assistance to stay alive.

Their example should, as the Schiavo case makes clear, be followed by all Americans. If you want your family to keep your body alive no matter what, you should specifiy that, too.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.