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Thousands of Americans Sign Living Wills on Thursday April 16
Date:4/13/2009

WASHINGTON, April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Thousands of Americans are expected to sign living wills for the first time on Thursday April 16 as part of National Healthcare Decisions Day. Teams of doctors, nurses and lawyers will be on hand at more than 660 hospitals and other healthcare facilities nationwide Thursday to help Americans sign living wills and other medical directives. The services are free.

A recent study suggests that increasing the number of cancer patients who have end-of-life discussions could save the U.S. over $75 million a year without compromising care.

Yet, less than one-third of all adults have a living will or any kind of "advance directive" to make their healthcare wishes known in the event of catastrophe, studies show. National Healthcare Decisions Day was started two years ago to teach Americans the benefits of creating an advance directive, and to encourage healthcare providers to recommend them more often.

"No one likes to think about the possibility of a life-threatening injury or disease," said Nathan Kottkamp, chairman of the National Healthcare Decision Day initiative. "But the simple act of creating an advance directive can turn out to be an incredible gift for loved ones in the event of an accident or severe illness."

The event's date is no coincidence. Kottkamp selected the day after Tax Day in honor of Benjamin Franklin's famous adage: "Nothing in life is certain but death and taxes."

More than 75 national organizations, plus 660 state and local organizations, will have teams at hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, doctor's offices and even libraries to explain the benefits of advance directives.

"No matter where you live, you can fill out an advance directive without hiring a lawyer. It's easy to do and is free," said Kottkamp, a healthcare attorney with the McGuireWoods law firm. He founded National Healthcare Decision
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SOURCE National Healthcare Decisions Day
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