Patient Story


On Grand Final Day, Val would have loved to have been watching the Hawks take on the Eagles, even if her beloved Bombers did not make the finals. Instead, Val was sitting in the St Vincent’s Emergency Department. Val knows the ED well, having completed her nursing training at St Vincent’s many years ago and subsequently being an in-charge nurse of the ED in the 1970’s.

As the siren sounded to begin the final quarter of theGrand Final, the ED doctor approached Val. ‘SorryVal, I have some bad news for you.’ With thosewords, Val knew her life would be changed forever.

Val was diagnosed with terminal cancer andadmitted to the ward for further treatment. Over thenext few days, Val lay in bed, contemplating her nextsteps. Over the next few months Val underwentmany rounds of chemotherapy. During one visit Valmet Sue, a Social Worker, who introduced the topicof Advance Care Planning.

Val knew what mattered to her and what her wishes were. ‘My nursing experience, family values and my mother’s death helped shape my views and wishes,’ Val says. ‘I don’t want to prolong life without quality of life – I want to keep my dignity.’

Val revised her Will, Power of Attorney (Financial), and Medical Treatment Decision Maker. Val had never married or had children. However, choosing a trusted and knowledgeable friend to be her Medical Treatment Decision Maker was an easy choice for Val to make. This person will make medical treatment decisions on behalf of Val when she is no longer able to make decisions herself.

‘Dignity and respect are important to me and having my Medical Treatment Decision Maker and Advance Care Directive in place has given me peace of mind,’ Val says.