Speaker discusses end of life issues

By | November 2, 2011

It was then that she returned home and began the Patients’ Rights Council located in Steubenville, Ohio. Marker was in Green Bay and Appleton late last month addressing people on what they need to know about these important moral issues.


Rita Marker, executive director of the Patients’ Rights Council, addresses a group at Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Green Bay Oct. 24. (Eddie O’Neill | For The Compass)

“Our mission at the Patients’ Rights Council is first to provide practical support to those who are facing critical situations for themselves or a loved one,” she said. “We want to give the public rational, factual information about the results of doctor-prescribed suicide and euthanasia.”

Of primary importance in Marker’s view is the need for people to have the correct advanced directives or legal documents by which they make provisions for health-care decisions in the event they are not capable of making such decisions themselves.

However, as Marker pointed out to around 50 people at Green Bay’s Nativity of Our Lord Church on Oct. 24, not all advanced directives such as a living will are created equal.

“The problem with a living will is that the language is way too broad and too open for interpretation,” she told the group. Marker explained that a more protective and clear advanced directive is establishing a durable power of attorney.

“With a durable power of attorney, you designate someone else to make health-care decisions on your behalf. The person you designate should be someone who shares your views and values.”

Marker also cleared up a number of misconceptions in regard to the medical debate over food and fluids. She explained that despite popular belief, putting in a feeding tube is neither extraordinary, expensive or risky.

“Putting in a feeding tube can be done simply on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia. Many people going to work every day who have problems with swallowing get their food through a tube.”

All conference attendees received a packet of information complete with educational pamphlets as well as a protective medical decision document for Wisconsin which participants could fill out.

Holy Cross parishioner, Dick DuBois found Marker’s insights quite helpful. “Talks like this point out real situations in the real world,” he told The Compass.

Tina Pallini, who heads up the diocese’s Respect Life Office, was responsible for having Marker come to the area. She said that education is important when it comes to the ethical and moral issues that are involved in end-of-life decisions.

“The one thing that amazed me was that the dignity of each human life is so fragile,” said Pallini. “Someone that you do not even know can be the decision maker on your life if you don’t have an advanced directive and agent to speak on your behalf.”

To learn more, visit Marker’s website, www.patientsrightscouncil.org.

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