A Medical Directive nominates Agents who are allowed to access your Medical Records and Speak with your doctor. This Agent may not be the same person who would assist you with Financial arrangement like paying bills. Many people have a family member with a Nursing or Medical background that would be happy and well suited to serve in this roll. In this document you can detail what types of medical decisions you want them to advocate for you on your behalf such as life support choices, life preference choices during pregnancy, how long to wait before determining a terminal condition, etc. These choices are very difficult for family members to make on your behalf and detailing your preference takes a lot of stress and worry off of their shoulders.
Adults can decide for themselves whether they want medical treatment and how they prefer to be treated. This right covers decisions regarding the use of medical treatment extending your life, such as a breathing machine or feeding tube. If you become incapacitated, a health care directive or living will allow you to choose an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf. Your agent may also have access to your medical records and speak with the doctor about your treatment and care. The medical directive will also dictate your preferences about certain treatments that might be used to sustain your life.
A trusted individual over 18 years old.
It is important to choose a person you trust and knows what you would possibly want. A health care agent can make any medical decision that you have not specifically decided within your health care directive.
Your health care directive can be as specific as you wish. Generally, a health care directive specifically instructs your doctors and medical staff about end-life decisions such as continuing nutrition and life-support if you were in a vegetative state.
A medical directive allows you to make difficult medical decisions for yourself, instead of your agent or loved ones, alleviating them of the burden of any guilt. It also assigns a trusted individual to have access to your medical records, to switch hospitals if necessary.
No, the health care agent can only make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated. A financial power of attorney will be required in order for that person to make any type of financial decisions on your behalf.
Once you have signed your medical directive, you should give copies to your health care agent, and back up agents, family doctor, family and friends who should know your wishes. Consider carrying an identification card in your wallet or purse with instructions to call your health care agent and his/her contact information.
Health care decisions are difficult to make, the more specific your instructions are, and less flexibility you provide as to those decision, the less likely your agent and family members will have the burden and guilt of making those difficult decisions for you.
Generally, no. However, a doctor is not required to provide a “medically ineffective” treatment even if a living will ask for it.
Yes, the medical directive does not provide for this decision within its provisions. If you do NOT want emergency personal to resuscitate you in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest, you must have DNR or EMS signed by your doctor.
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