Jan Hoffman, of the NY Times writes about pre-death planning for teenagers. The article begins as follows:
The Tumors had disfigured AshLeigh McHale’s features and spread to her organs. A year ago, AshLeigh, 17, flew from her home in Catoosa, Okla., to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., with a thread-thin hope of slowing her melanoma.
One morning a social worker stopped by her hospital room. They began a conversation that would be inconceivable to most teenagers: If death approached and AshLeigh could no longer speak, what would she want those who surrounded her to know?
The social worker showed AshLeigh a new planning guide designed to help critically ill young patients express their preferences for their final days — and afterward.
If visitors arrived when AshLeigh was asleep, did she want to be woken? If they started crying, should they step outside or talk about their feelings with her?
What about life support? Funeral details? Who should inherit her computer? Or Bandit, her dachshund?
AshLeigh grabbed her blue and hot-pink pens, and began scribbling furiously.
When she died in July, she was at home as she had requested. Per her instructions, she was laid out for the funeral in her favorite jeans, cowgirl boots and the white shirt she had gotten for Christmas. Later, the family dined, as AshLeigh had directed, on steak fajitas and corn on the cob.
Read full article at Teenagers Face Early Death, on Their Terms – NYTimes.com.