New York Times:  “I am utterly spent by the time my father lands in the emergency room, shortly after 1 a.m. on a cold January night.  We have been through the drill so many times that when the nursing home calls to tell me the ambulance just left, I do not even bother to phone my siblings, who live in other states.”

Does your father have a living will?”  I freeze. No emergency room doctor has asked me this before. I answer, evenly, yes. “Do you have durable power of attorney?” Yes.  Visibly relieved, he looks me in the eye and gently but pointedly asks: “Does your father want us to employ extreme measures” — he pauses one heartbeat for emphasis — “knowing that he is not likely to improve?”