CHICAGO (WBBM) — The Illinois State Medical Society is urging healthy people — and others — to start planning now for what happens if you get seriously ill, or die.

Dr. Wayne Polek, President of the Illinois State Medical Society, says that when you’re in a hospital facing life and death decisions for you or a loved one, it should not be the first time you’ve dealt with such emotionally charged issues.

The Society has put out a publication called “A Personal Decision,” encouraging people to designate someone who can make health decisions for you if you cannot. It’s called a Healthcare Power of Attorney and Polek says you should declare your preferences about various health decisions.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

“It allows you to select individuals or individuals that would make health care decisions for you when you’re unable to – if you’re unconscious or in a vegetative state,” Polek said.

He admits it’s a touchy subject, but he says people who are healthy, as well as those who aren’t, should talk with family members about the kind of medical care they’d want to receive or reject before there’s a medical crisis.

“You can elect to have a certain type of health care, you may not want to have a certain type of procedure done to you. For example, you might have a religious objection to blood transfusions,” Polek said. “You need to work that out because that’s something that you’d want done and make that known to your family members.”

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore examines matter of life and death on the Aug. 21 edition of WBBM’s “At Issue” program and you can hear more Sunday at 9:30am and 9:30pm.

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