I read this article from the Daily Mail a little while ago, about Jeff Conaway, who played Kenickie in Grease. Jeff was found in his home in early May in a coma brought on by a suspected drug overdose. Doctors had informed his family that he had suffered brain death and would not recover, and they had planned to end life support until Jeff’s ex-girlfriend, Vikki Lizzi, came forward to announce that she held a power of attorney over Jeff and ordered the life support to be maintained. Doctors are currently on hold until it is established whether the power of attorney is still valid.
I regularly advise people to have powers of attorney prepared so that their health care can be arranged if they are unable to do so for themselves. This case makes it very clear just how important it is to keep these documents current, and to make new ones as your life situation changes. Maybe Jeff Conaway wanted his ex-girlfriend to make these decisions, as an outsider who could be more objective; maybe he simply forgot to update the document. We will likely never know. For the rest of us, we should always make sure that the person named in our power of attorney document is the person we want acting right now, and should always change it in the future when it is appropriate.