Living Will Phone App Policy Order


Whereas: A Living Will is an important legal document that specifies what actions should be taken in the event of terminal illness or indefinite life support; and

Whereas: A Living Will ensures that in the event of terminal illness or injury, the victim’s personal wishes regarding the removal of life support and the conduct of other difficult decisions become legally binding; and

Whereas: The process of obtaining the copy of a Living Will—if one has been drafted at all—from the courts in an emergency can be complicated and time consuming in a situation where any delay could have severe repercussions; and

Whereas: William Palin, a local Cambridge lawyer has used contemporary technology to create a free mobile app, PaperHealth, that is able to draft a legally binding Living Will on the user’s mobile phone; and

Whereas: Hospitals are already required to mention living wills during patient intake and implementation in area hospitals may fit neatly into existing intake procedures, thereby potentially bypassing bureaucratic red tape and court proceedings in the future; and

Whereas: Mr. Palin has made the initial release of PaperHealth tailored to Massachusetts, and is in talks with the Vermont Ethics Center and the Virginia Poverty Law Center to match the app to state by state medical and legal needs, a process that could easily be reapplied to Massachusetts; therefore be it

Ordered: The City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the Cambridge Health Alliance and Mr. Palin to determine the best way to implement PaperHealth in Massachusetts area hospitals; and be it further

Ordered: The City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to council on this matter.

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