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The advance directive capital of the U.S. - The Galveston County Daily News : Guest Columns

January 30, 2015

Guest column The advance directive capital of the U.S.

Posted: Sunday, March 9, 2014 12:00 am

National Public Radio recently recognized what we in bioethics had long known — La Crosse, Wis., has the distinction of being the only city in America where just about everyone has an advance directive, a durable power of attorney for health care or living will to speak to their medical wishes if they later lose the capacity to make their own decisions.

NPR credited the efforts of Bud Hammes, the bioethicist on the staff of a La Crosse hospital, who many years ago noted the anguish of families called on by doctors to make decisions on behalf of relatives who had never recorded their wishes earlier. Hammes made it his mission to convince as many local residents as possible that they’d be doing their families a huge favor by having the difficult conversations and making sure everyone knew what they would want in the event of a later medical crisis.

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