Arlington, WA - April 22, 2014: Ted Goff, 73, in his home in Arlington Washington where he lives with his wife Linda. Here Mr. Goff prepares himself a cup of coffee. A longtime smoker, he has stage 4 emphysema and was told by his doctors he has about six months to live (May is six months). He only has 24 percent oxygen in one lung and 8 percent in the other lung, not enough to be life-sustaining.
About five years ago, the couple filled out an advanced directive at the suggestion of his doctor. But they didn't really understand any of the terms. When the pulmonologist gave Ted the prognosis last year, and asked whether Ted wanted to be on a ventilator, he suggested they see a video that would explain what that involved. After watching it, the Goffs realized they did not want him to be on a ventilator, or to be resusitated, or to receive any kind of intervention to sustain his life.