They’ve invented a card that allows anyone to refuse treatment in a medical emergency. Here is the BBC banging on about it. Have a little read, by all means, then pop back.
What frankly worries me is that, by signing the card, you might be entering into a written contract. And they are very difficult to get out of.
I can imagine the scene. And here I am, imagining it . . .
EXT: An ambulance arrives at the scene of a road traffic accident. The driver has a nasty cut in his arm and is stuck behind the wheel.
PARAMEDIC 1: Hello, my name’s Stephen. What’s your name?
PARAMEDIC 1: Right, then, Tom. Let’s see about getting you out of here. Ooh, bit of a nasty gash there.
DRIVER: Yes, it is a bit tender. (Laughs weakly)
PARAMEDIC 1: I bet. Right, oh, there’s a bit of metal stuck in your thigh. Should be okay. Finbar! Tell the fire bobbies we’ll need to cut him out.
PARAMEDIC 2 (who has been standing behind): Right you are, Stephen. (Walks off).
PARAMEDIC 1: Right, let’s get that arm sorted out (opens medical bag).
PARAMEDIC 2 comes back
PARAMEDIC 2: What are you doing?
PARAMEDIC 1: I’m going to bandage him up, lest he bleed to an untimely death.
PARAMEDIC 2: (Sucks teeth) Have you checked his wallet?
PARAMEDIC 1: Yikes! Nearly forgot. Could have got into serious lumber. (Leans across DRIVER and pulls wallet from pocket).
PARAMEDIC 1: (Opens wallet) Just checking. (Pulls out card) Blimey! Cheers, Finbar, that was a close one!
PARAMEDIC 1: You’ve got one of those Right to Die cards. (He reads) STOP! I want to make an advance decision to refuse treatment. Look, you’ve signed your name here.
PARAMEDIC 1: (starts putting away bag) There you go. (hands back wallet and card) Well, good luck, Tom.
DRIVER: Hang on. I didn’t mean . . . It’s only a cut. I meant if I was unconscious.
PARAMEDIC 1: You will be in a minute, if that’s any consolation.
DRIVER: Okay, okay, I’m giving you permission now. Treat me.
PARAMEDIC 1: Sorry mate, more than my job’s worth. We put so much as a plaster on, and you’re straight off to your brief to sue us.
DRIVER: But . . .
PARAMEDIC 2: He’s right, mate. You say we’ve got permission now. But that’s not going to stand up in court.
DRIVER: But . . .
PARAMEDIC 1: (Points at watch, clears throat) Finbar, Casualty.
PARAMEDIC 2: Tut, we’ll miss the first five minutes. All the best, Tom.
PARAMEDIC 1: Yeah, cheers, Tom.
PARAMEDICS walk back to ambulance. They meet firefighters with cutting equipment and have a short discussion. Then all drive away.
You see, they’ve opened a can of worms there.