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Eli Stone Lacks Sensitivity to End-of-Life Choices

By April 15, 2008

The ABC hit drama Eli Stone has been one my favorite network shows this season. A cutthroat lawyer who begins having hallucinations that predict the future is diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. Is it the aneurysm causing the hallucinations, or is Eli a modern day prophet?

Well, I have to say that as much as I've enjoyed the show, I was very disappointed with last nights episode. Eli decides to have his aneurysm removed, a surgery that is very risky. His doctor recommends Eli protect himself with a living will, or advanced directives. Eli seems to be surprised at this suggestion but enlists the help of another lawyer at his firm to prepare them.

My first reaction was, "Right on! This is great exposure for advanced directives!". Then I started to over-think, like I usually do with T.V. shows, and wondered why an attorney, who surely knows the importance of advanced directives, would wait until he was having a risky surgical procedure to institute them for himself. Oh, well. That's easy to overlook.

What came next, however, was not. Eli asked his ex-fiance, another lawyer, to witness his advanced directives. She questioned whether they were really necessary and asked. "So, your asking me to sign your suicide note?"

What?! You can't equate advanced directives to a suicide note! I'm concerned for the general public who watched this show, knowing little or nothing about advanced directives, now being hesitant to ever consider preparing them for themselves for fear that they are making out their "suicide note". A bad lapse in judgment of the shows writers, to be sure.

Read More:
Advanced Directives
Five Wishes
Making Difficult Decisions in Health Care

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