New Bern, NC – Local medical and legal professionals, social workers and clergy are leading an effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making as a part of a larger national effort by the National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) Initiative to encourage the public to talk about their wishes with family, friends and healthcare providers, and to execute written advance directives (healthcare power of attorney and living will). The goal of National Healthcare Decisions Day, observed on April 16, is to provide the public with the tools and information necessary to make decisions about their care and to document those decisions in accordance with North Carolina state laws.

Two events are planned for our area. The first will take place on Monday, April 14, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. at the Pamlico County Public Library on Highway 55 in Bayboro. Panelists will discuss the medical, spiritual and ethical issues surrounding end-of-life health care decision making.

On Monday, April 16, at 1:00 p.m., the public is invited to attend a discussion panel to learn more about advance directives and what they mean for patients and their families. The event will be held in the main living room of The Courtyards At Berne Village on Amhurst Boulevard in New Bern. The panel will include Dr. Robert Fisher, CarolinaEast Hospitalist and Craven County Hospice Medical Director, Chaplain Michael Bostian, Director, Pastoral Affairs at CarolinaEast, Attorney Cindy Turco, Vice President of Legal Affairs at CarolinaEast and Mary Lou Infinito with the Crystal Coast End of Life Awareness Coalition. The goal of the event is to provide attendees an opportunity to learn about options for advanced directives, why they matter and where to turn for guidance in making these important decisions. Notaries and witnesses will be available if anyone is interested in executing an advance directive. The event is offered at no cost as a community service of CarolinaEast Health System, National Healthcare Decisions Day Initiative and The Crystal Coast End of Life Awareness Coalition.

“As a result of National Healthcare Decisions Day, many more people in our community can be expected to have thoughtful conversations about their healthcare decisions and complete reliable advance directives to make their wishes known,” said Chaplain Michael Bostian, Director of Pastoral Care at CarolinaEast Medical Center.  “Fewer families and healthcare providers will have to struggle with making difficult healthcare decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient, and healthcare providers and facilities will be better equipped to address advance healthcare planning issues before a crisis and be better able to honor patient wishes when the time comes to do so.”

For more information about this event, contact Mary Lou Infinito at 973-214-8092. More information about National Healthcare Decisions Day can be found at

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