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Texas medical ethicist creates new living will Web site

A San Antonio medical ethics expert has launched a new Web site aimed at getting people to create advance directives. Those are legal documents that spell out your end-of-life wishes.

SAN ANTONIO -- A San Antonio medical ethics expert has launched a new Web site aimed at getting more people to create advance directives. Those are legal documents that spell out your end-of-life wishes.

If you were to linger in the hospital with hospital with an injury or illness and you were so incapacitated that you couldn't choose your own care, would your family know what you want? Less than a third of Americans have an advance directive.

Craig Klugman, Ph.D., of the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics, wants to change that statistic. He's a man with a mission, a medical ethicist with the U.T. Health Science Center. Klugman has created a new Web site, . It's a user friendly way to spell out your end-of-life wishes.

"So it's what you do want and what you don't want," Klugman explains. "So it helps your family to have to make these decisions instead of them having guilt and the concern of having to make them for you."

By answering a series of checkboxes and typing in your specific desires, the computer program can put your plans into accurate statutory language. You just print it out and get the appropriate witness signatures.

It made sense to Kim Fox, a single woman in her 30s.

"I think it's a great idea because should something happen to me where I'm in the hospital and I can't make decisions for myself, it takes a lot of the strain off my family," Fox said.

The Web site includes boxes that carefully explain the medical language.

"I thought there'd be a lot of mumbo jumbo and legalese," Fox commented. "I really did. And it wasn't. It was very, very simplistic. Very easy to follow."

Texas Living Will was launched May 1st and in the first three weeks, it got 16,000 hits.

"You really need to sit down and talk to somebody and be sure that they know what you want and that they will act on your behalf rather than on what their emotions are at the time," Klugman stressed.

Texas Living Will creates advance directives in both English and Spanish. Klugman hopes millions of Texans will take advantage of this free service.