New business provides education and database for living wills

By Rozella Hardin

STAR STAFF
rhardin@starhq.com

   Kenneth Riddle and his partner, DNR America, LLC, are offering a new and unique service to area residents -- that of educating the public about living wills and making a record of them, that can be easily accessed.
   Riddle, who helped begin the service the latter part of last year, emphasized the importance of living wills. "Everyone needs a living will, or else your family will not know what to do. The decision should be yours -- not your family's -- when it comes to providing or unhooking life support systems," he said.
   "When people do not have living wills, families are put in a predicament, and often times they can not agree on what route to take," he said. "These problems can be avoided and questions erased if the person has a living will," Riddle said.
   "DNR America LLC does two things. First, it tells everybody to get a living will. Secondly, it provides a perpetual database of living wills," Riddle explained.
   In addition, clients are given a necklace with their name and an identification number to be worn at all times. Should the need arise, a paramedic treating an injured or sick person has hands-on access to the database to check the person's living will for directives.
   "With that number, we can access the person's living will from the database. It can be e-mailed or faxed in a matter of a few minutes," Riddle said.
   "It can be sent immediately to the first responder or the person's family. The database is always accessible -- 7 days a week, 24 hours a day," he emphasized.
   "It's important that people let their feelings be known, and that such decisions as whether or not to be put on life support be left to someone. If you do not want to be med-flighted or resuscitated, you need to let that be known. And that's what a living will is for," Riddle said.
   The database is provided at a minimal cost. Persons interested in the service should call Riddle at 256-227-4999.