NJ LAWS EMAIL NEWSLETTER E528
1. Honor Veteran's Day November 11-While in college at University of Scranton I wrote my senior class project on my grandfather Albert Louis Vercammen who fought in WWI against the German army with the Belgian Army. I wrote how he single handedly defeated the Germans to make the world safe for democracy.
Decades later, the Red Chinese stormed into North Korea in the Korean War and threatened Communism throughout Asia. The Army summoned my dad, Albert P. Vercammen, to go over and fight the invaders. He was on the Battleship New Jersey crossing the Pacific when the North Koreans and Chinese heard about the fierce Vercammen fighting spirit. The North Koreans started to retreat and wanted to surrender. The cowardly United Nations let them call it a truce. Again, the world was safe for democracy.
While in Korea, Al Vercammen was promoted to Sergeant. I recall him saying Korea was the coldest place in the world. Also, unlike the TV show MASH that had hot nurses, the ones in Korea were not attractive. The black and white photos taken in Korea my Dad has show barren hills near their Spartan tents. It looked cold. I am glad I did not have to go over there. So as Americans, we thank our Dads and other vets that got the call to duty [draft] and helped turn the tide against the Communists.
My father in law John Bachenski served in WWII in the Army Air Corp, the forerunner of the Air Force. He helped start the sonar radar program for the Army. He successfully helped defend the air base at Boca Raton, Florida from any German U boats or invading Italian ships. Now age 91, he is a long time member of the American Legion.
I try to stay out of politics, but I always stand for the National Anthem to honor veterans and those who served.
Numerous events to honor veterans will be held across NJ and the USA.
2. Veterans and Sons of Veterans should join the American LegionTo honor my Dad and other veterans I joined the Sons of American Legion. I am a Member of Sons of American Legion, Edison Father & Son Post 435, which is located on 43 Oakland Ave, Edison, NJ 08817 near Plainfield Ave and Wick Plaza.
The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as an organization for wartime veterans. Membership is open only to men and women who served active duty in the US Armed Forces during specific periods designated as "war time" by the US Congress, and who have received an honorable discharge, or are still serving honorably. Eligible veterans would be able to provide a Form DD214 (or similar) to verify their eligibility. If you don't meet these requirements, you can still support the USA and Posts of the American Legion.
It's possible that you may be able to join one of the other organizations in the "Legion Family." The Sons of The American Legion (SAL) is comprised of male descendants, adopted sons and stepsons of American Legion members. (There are no age limitations.) Many posts have an active SAL program and you can contact one near you to learn more. (Visit www.legion.org/sons for more information.)
Their sister organization is the American Legion Auxiliary. Eligibility is open to mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, granddaughters, great grand daughters, or grandmothers of members of The American Legion, or of deceased veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces during the listed war eras.
The American Legion is a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation's largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.
Hundreds of local American Legion programs and activities strengthen the nation one community at a time. American Legion Baseball is one of the nation's most successful amateur athletic programs, educating young people about the importance of sportsmanship, citizenship and fitness. The Operation Comfort Warriors program supports recovering wounded warriors and their families, providing them with "comfort items" and the kind of support that makes a hospital feel a little bit more like home. The Legion also raises millions of dollars in donations at the local, state and national levels to help veterans and their families during times of need and to provide college scholarship opportunities.
To contact the American Legion, Edison Father & Son Post 435 Call (732) 985-9768. Hall Rental also available for events
More details at http://www.legion.org/membership/faq
I also join the VFW Auxiliary of VFW Post 133
485 Cranbury Road East Brunswick, NJ 08816 (732) 254-9674
Membership requirements of VFW are similar to the American Legion. Both men and women are in the auxiliary. East Brunswick VFW has Friday night dinners every week, plus sponsors a popular 5k race every July. VFW also has Hall Rental also available
Living Wills and Advance Directive NJ called Living Wills w state infoCompiled By KENNETH A. VERCAMMEN
A Living Will is your written expression of how you want to be treated in certain medical conditions. Depending on state law, this document may permit you to express whether or not you wish to be given life-sustaining treatments in the event you are terminally ill or injured, to decide in advance whether you wish to be provided food and water via intravenous devices ("tube feeding"), and to give other medical directions that impact the end of life. "Life-sustaining treatment" means the use of available medical machinery and techniques, such as heart-lung machines, ventilators, and other medical equipment and techniques that will sustain and possibly extend your life, but which will not by themselves cure your condition. In addition to terminal illness or injury situations, most states permit you to express your preferences as to treatment using life-sustaining equipment and/or tube feeding for medical conditions that leave you permanently unconscious and without detectable brain activity.
A Living Will applies in situations where the decision to use such treatments may prolong your life for a limited period of time and not obtaining such treatment would result in your death. It does not mean that medical professionals would deny you pain medications and other treatments that would relieve pain or otherwise make you more comfortable. Living Wills do not determine your medical treatment in situations that do not affect your continued life, such as routine medical treatment and non life-threatening medical conditions. In all states the determination as to whether or not you are in such a medical condition is determined by medical professionals, usually your attending physician and at least one other medical doctor who has examined you and/or reviewed your medical situation. Most states permit you to include other medical directions that you wish your physicians to be aware of regarding the types of treatment you do or do not wish to receive.
KENNETH VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC
ATTORNEY AT LAW
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
All States have declared that competent adults have the fundamental right in collaboration with their health care providers, to control decisions about their own health care. States recognize in their law and public policy, the personal right of the individual patient to make voluntary, informed choices to accept, to reject or to choose among alternative courses of medical and surgical treatment.
WHY LIVING WILLS
Modern advances in science and medicine have made possible the prolongation of the lives of many seriously ill individuals, without always offering realistic prospects for improvement or cure. For some individuals the possibility of extended life is experienced as meaningful and of benefit. For others, artificial prolongation of life may seem to provide nothing medically necessary or beneficial, serving only to extend suffering and prolong the dying process. States recognize the inherent dignity and value of human life and within this context recognize the fundamental right of individuals to make health care decisions
THE LIVING WILL: Planning Ahead For Your Health Care:KENNETH A. VERCAMMEN
Attorney at Law
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
Abstracted from NJ Commission on Legal & Ethical Problems in the Delivery of Health Care
732-572-0500 Legislative Study Commission Brochure
2. Questions and Answers
3. Terms You Should
As Americans, we take it for granted that we are entitled to make decisions about our own health care. Most of the time we make these decisions after talking with our own physician about the advantages and disadvantages of various treatment options. The right of a competent individual to accept or refuse medical treatment is a fundamental right now fully protected by law.
But what happens if serious illness, injury or permanent loss of mental capacity makes us incapable of talking to a doctor and deciding what medical treatments we do or do not want? These situations pose difficult questions to all of us as patients, family members, friends and health care professionals. Who makes these decisions if we cant make them for ourselves? If we can't make our preferences known how can we make sure that our wishes will be respected? If disagreements arise among those caring for us about different treatment alternatives how will they be resolved? Is there a way to alleviate the burdens shouldered by family members and loved ones when critical medical decisions must be made?
By using documents known as advance directives for health care, you can answer some of these questions and give yourself the security of knowing that you can continue to have a say in your own treatment. A properly prepared Living Will permits you to plan ahead so you can both make your wishes known, and select someone who will see to it that your wishes are followed.
After all, if you are seriously ill or injured and cant make decisions for yourself someone will have to decide about your medical care. Doesn't it make sense to
oHave a person you trust make decisions for you,
oProvide instructions about the treatment you do and do not want, or
oBoth appoint a person to make decisions and provide them with instructions.
A Few Definitions
Throughout this booklet there are four phrases. Each of these phrases has a special meaning when it comes to allowing you to make decisions about your future health care.
o Advance directive-If you want your wishes to guide those responsible for your care you have to plan for what you want in advance. Generally such planning is more likely to be effective if it's done in writing. So, by an "advance directive" we mean any written directions you prepare in advance to say what kind of medical care you want in the event you become unable to make decisions for yourself.
1. Proxy directives - One way to have a say in your future medical care is to designate a person (a proxy) you trust and give that person the legal authority to decide for you if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Your chosen proxy (known as a health care representative) serves as your substitute, "standing in" for you in discussions with your physician and others responsible for your care. So, by a proxy directive we mean written directions that name a "proxy
Frequently Asked Questions1. Can my healthcare representative make decisions for me if I am still able to make my own decisions?
Answer: No, your healthcare representative can only make decisions for you if your physician has evaluated you and determined that you are unable to understand your diagnosis, treatment options or the possible benefits and harms of the treatment options.
2. Can having an advance directive affect my life insurance, health insurance or the benefits I receive from a governmental benefits program?
3. Can my life insurance company, health insurance company, physician, hospital, nursing home or any other healthcare facility require me to have an advance directive?
4. Does New Jersey recognize an advance directive that is valid in another state?
5. What is the definition of "life-sustaining treatment"?
Answer: Life sustaining treatment is any medical device or procedure that increases your life expectancy by restoring or taking over a vital bodily function. The medical device or procedure can be a drug, ventilator (breathing machine), surgery, therapy or artificially provided fluids and nutrition.
6. What is the definition of "permanently unconscious"?
Answer: Permanently unconscious means you have permanently lost the ability to interact with your environment and are completely unaware of your surroundings.
7. What is the definition of "terminal condition"?
Answer: Terminal condition means the final stage of a fatal illness, disease or condition. To be in a terminal condition you do not have to be diagnosed as having less than a certain amount of time to live (e.g., six months or less).
8. What happens if I regain the ability to make my own decisions?
Answer: In that case, your physician must obtain your consent for all treatment. Once you have the ability to make healthcare decisions your healthcare representative will no longer have the authority to make decisions for you.
9. Who should have a copy of my advance directive?
Answer: You should give a copy to your primary healthcare representative, alternate healthcare representative(s), family members and physicians. If you are treated at a hospital or enter a nursing home you should also provide a copy when you are admitted.
Completing an Advance Directive1. Do I need a lawyer to complete an advance directive?
Answer: No, you can complete an advance directive on your own.
2. Does my advance directive have to be notarized?
3. Do I need a witness when I sign my advance directive?
Answer: You can choose to get your advance directive notarized, in which case you don't need additional witnesses. Or you can choose to sign and date your advance directive in front of two adult witnesses who must also sign and date the document.
4. What does it mean for someone to sign my advance directive as a witness?
Answer: As a witness the person is stating that you voluntarily signed your advance directive.
5. Is there anyone who cannot sign my advance directive as a witness?
Answer: Yes, the person who you appoint as your healthcare representative cannot be a witness.
6. Can I change my advance directive?
Answer: Yes, you can change your advance directive any time you want by completing a new one. You need to sign and date your new advance directive and have two witnesses sign and date it.
7. Can I cancel my advance directive?
Answer: Yes, you can cancel your advance directive any time you want. To cancel it you need to tell your physician, family, healthcare representative, nurse, social worker or a reliable witness that you want to cancel your advance directive. You can tell them verbally or send them a letter.
1. Can I have an instruction directive without having a proxy directive?
2. In what circumstance can I have life-sustaining treatment withheld or withdrawn?
Answer: Your instruction directive can state you want life-sustaining treatment withheld or withdrawn in any of the following situations: 1) you are permanently unconscious, 2) you are in a terminal condition, 3) the life-sustaining treatment would likely only prolong an imminent death, 4) the life-sustaining treatment would likely be ineffective or 5) you have a serious irreversible condition and the life-sustaining treatment would likely be more harmful than beneficial.
3. Why is it important to have an instruction directive?
Answer: You may become unable to make your own healthcare decisions because of a serious injury, illness or disease. By having an instruction directive your family and physician will know the situations in which you would want or not want to have life-sustaining treatment. And by including a statement about your beliefs, values and general preferences for care and treatment, your physician and family will know what you would want in situations that are not specifically covered by your instruction directive. An instruction directive will also prevent conflicts among your family, physician or other healthcare providers that can occur when a patient's treatment preferences are unknown.
1. Can my healthcare representative make decisions for me if I am still able to make my own decisions?
Answer: No, your healthcare representative can only make decisions for you if your physician has evaluated you and determined that you are unable to understand your diagnosis, treatment options or the possible benefits and harms of the treatment options