Discuss End of Life Issues Before Marriage
A story from September 2010 illustrate why couples should discuss health care and end of life issues before marriage. In this tragic story, a bride discovered she had a brain tumor on her wedding day. She fell into a coma 10 days later, following brain surgery. She and her husband had a discussion about the possible outcomes of the surgery, and her wishes regarding life support in various situations. Ultimately, she went into a coma, her husband and parents removed her feeding tube, and she died 56 days later.
In this situation, the couple knew in advance of her surgery that the new husband may be forced to make end of life decisions for his wife, and they were able to talk through the issues. However, in many cases the accident or health problem that necessitates end of life decisions occurs suddenly, not allowing time for discussion. Couples should ideally execute healthcare powers of attorney immediately before the wedding, and at the least should have discussions regarding their wishes about life support.