HealthWatch: Being Mortal


Does your family know what you want if you’re facing a life threatening accident or disease?
What if you aren’t able to make the decision or tell them?
It’s important for people to plan ahead and talk to their families about end-of-life decisions.

Ninety percent of Americans say they know they should talk to their loved ones about their wishes for end-of-life care but only 30-percent do so.
That is why Aurora BayCare Medical Center is holding a free movie screening and discussion on the topic- to help people begin the conversation with their families- and get it in writing.

When someone hits the emergency room with life threatening injuries or is facing a terminal illness- what if they can’t tell their loved ones what their wishes are- do they want to be put on life support ? Or dialysis?, “Whether they would like to be resuscitated, in other words would they want their heart to be started, or would they like us to go and let them die a peaceful death,” explained Dr. Lonika Sood, MD, Hospitalist, Aurora BayCare Medical Center.

“It becomes a major challenge for their loved ones because even though the patient may have communicated their wishes in advance verbally they’re not in a legal document,” said Renee Lubinski, Lead Chaplain, Aurora BayCare Medical Center.

That’s where an advance directive or living will comes in.  Its a written legal statement of a person’s wishes regarding medical treatment so they are carried out should the person be unable to communicate, “Which basically outlines how you as a person would like to be treated should say your heart stopped,” said Dr. Sood.

“It removes the guess work for the family, everything that the patient wants is written so all they have to do is work as advocates,” explained Lubinski.

Hospitalist Dr. Lonika Sood and Lead Chaplain Renee Lubinski work with people during their end of life. They say if you don’t have an advance directive- your wishes might not be carried out, “As a hospital doctor what I very commonly come across is patients who go into the emergency room almost dying they are not awake they are not able to talk to anybody,” Said Dr. Sood.

 And living wills are not just for terminal patients- Lubinski says all adults should have one, “end-of-life decision making happens at all ages weather its a motor vehicle accident, it could be a head trauma, a brain hemorrhage,” said Lubinski.

Aurora baycare Medical Center is hosting a free screening of the PBS Frontline film ‘Being Mortal’, “What it really talks about is difficult conversations between healthcare professionals and their patients and families, they talk about end of life care,” said Dr. Sood.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion with professionals.  The goal is to help people begin these difficult conversations with their families and their doctors, “Set up a time with your family member and tell them what your goals are,” urged Dr. Sood.

Community members will have the opportunity to discuss the importance of making their wishes known with a panel of physicians, nurses, and professionals in spiritual and palliative care including Dr. Sood and Lubinski. The goal is to also help people begin these difficult conversations with their families and their doctors, “We’re going to learn about crucial conversations that involve goals of care ahead of a medical crisis,” said Lubinski.

Free advance directive paperwork will be available at the event.

There are two opportunities to see ‘Being Mortal’ a free film screening and discussion.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 from 6:00-8:00 PM

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 from 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Both are at the Aurora Sports Medicine Building 1160 Kepler Drive, Green Bay.

To learn more you can call AuroraBayCare at 866-938-0035 or email 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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