My Health, My Decisions: A Discussion on Advance Directives with Mike O’Connell & Dr. Kirsten Severson


In this episode, Dr. Kirsten Severson along with Mike O’Connell and host Pete Waggoner explores the concept of advance directives and how they work. Dr. Severson provides a thorough explanation of the whole process and how these documents allow a person to make the tough decisions about their healthcare beforehand in case they are ever unable to do so. Mike O’Connell also gets candid about his own experiences and shares some insights on how advance directives can lift the burden off of families during difficult times.

This episode is a must-listen for anyone who wants to learn more about advance directives and how they can protect you and your loved ones.


  1. Planning your health care in advance can not only allow you to make your own decisions but also ease the burden on your loved ones during tough times.
  2. Facing the reality of our own mortality can be scary, but having these conversations with our loved ones and healthcare providers is important.

In this episode:

[1:34] Pete Waggoner opens the discussion by asking Dr. Severson to define what an advance directive is. The doctor explains the two types of advance directives: the living will and the power of attorney for healthcare.

[10:02] Dr. Severson talks about how and where a person can get an advance directive. She also shares some specific websites and online platforms which a patient can download and print the necessary documents from.

[21:37] The three talk about how a person’s advance directives will be used in the event that an unfortunate incident should happen outside of a hospital setting and where the first responders are not aware of the patient’s written wishes.

[24:49] Pete asks Dr. Severson how the conversation typically begins when a person wants to start thinking about their advance directives.

[35:34] Mike and Dr. Severson share some final thoughts and advice for those who are thinking about making their own advance directives. They put emphasis on how these documents can help people lift the burden off of their loved ones in the event that they are unable to make their own decisions.


  1. Dr. Kirsten Severson
  2. The Conversation Project
  3. Wisconsin DPOA Healthcare Forms – Advance Directives
  4. Read Show Transcript


  1. “It’s my body, it’s my life. And I want to direct what happens when things look not so very (maybe) good.” – Dr. Kirsten Severson
  2. “We’ve got a long way to go yet, but it should be just a part of your general healthcare.” – Dr. Kirsten Severson on starting the conversation about advance directives
  3. “Don’t put that burden on your loved ones.” – Mike O’Connell

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