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End of life issues in the EU (specifically, Germany)

by Texmandie Sat Oct 1st, 2005 at 04:54:33 AM EST

Right now on DailyKos there's a diary by spitonmars, a neurology resident (a step right before being able to practice medicine independently in the US), about the every day tragedy of the typical death in an American hospital, with discussion on how to avoid this for oneself and one's loved ones.

I've been living in Germany for just under a year now, and expect to for several more. I'm only 25, so it is extremely unlikely that I'll die here. However, I do drive in Bavaria (Autobahns with crazed BMW and Audi drivers and two-lane state highways with poor visibility and crazed BMW and Audi drivers) and like to ski.

What steps do I need to take to ensure that should something horrible happen and I end up incapacitated, I won't be stuck on life support long after any chance for recovery has passed? I have no relatives over here, and workmates and German acquaintances I like and trust, but would feel uncomfortable potentially burdening with life-and-death decisions.

Does Germany have an equivalent of a "Living Will"? Would it be honored if, say, I had a skiing accident in Austria or didn't look the right way crossing the street in London?

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