Even though a lot of people have heard of living wills, healthcare proxies, or other types of advance medical directives, only about 20% have actually taken the time to create one. This number, though not surprising, is remarkably low when you compare it to the number of doctors who have created an advance directive. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, about 64% of physicians in the country have created at least a living will or different kind of medical directive.
The reason for this appears to be at least in part caused by the difference in the way doctors and laypeople experience medicine.
For many people who do not work in the healthcare industry, medicine is not something they have to deal with on a daily basis.
Physicians, on the other hand, have firsthand knowledge and come to understand medical practices as routine. They also have first-hand experience about how people die and what actually happens during this process.
For non-physicians, much of our understanding of emergency medical procedures and the dying process comes from popular television and films. The portrait portrayed in popular media is often drastically different than the reality.
For example, one study has showed that while television programs show that CPR is effective about 75% of the time, the reality is that it is only effective less than 10% of the time. Further, those who receive CPR are often portrayed in television as being able to lead productive lives, while in reality only 8% of people who are resuscitated through CPR survive for more than a month, while an even smaller percentage go on to lead normal lives.