Watch CBS News

Amid Coronavirus Outbreak, Doctors Stress Having Tough Talks With Relatives About 'What If' Scenarios

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are starting to think about what would happen if they would get sick with the virus.

Doctors say that you should always have a plan for a worst-case scenario, where you would be too sick to make your own medical decisions. But this is not the easiest subject matter to bring up with your loved ones.

Doctors at Mayo Clinic say it is crucially important to have those difficult conversations. Make sure you know what kind of medical care your loved ones would or would not want in situations.

One doctor at Mayo, Erin DeMartino, said that lots of times, family members don't know what their sick loved ones would want.

"That is very commonly the case, where we are bringing up the topic and it's the very first time a family member has wrestled with questions. What if the situation would get worse? Would somebody want to go through being on a ventilator for a small chance of ever getting home? Some people would, some people wouldn't, but it's hard to know if you haven't had the conversation," DeMartino said.

She says the best thing you can do is start the conversation. If you have adult children, ask them if they have ever thought about these things. If you have parents, ask them what they would want to do if the situation ever arose.

Another thing people can do is write down your wishes. You can fill out a health care directive that will set people in charge and make your wishes known to doctors. You don't need an attorney to sign it, just two witnesses.

For any other questions about health care directives, click here.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.