Planning in advance for medical treatment
Posted 2016.10.10 at 10:12 am by medsite
Your Right to Decide About Treatment
Adults in New York State have the right to accept or refuse medical treatment, including lifesustaining treatment. Our Constitution and state laws protect this right. This means that you have the right to request or consent to treatment, to refuse treatment before it has started, and to have treatment stopped once it has begun.
Planning in Advance
Sometimes because of illness or injury people are unable to talk to a doctor and decide about treatment for themselves. You may wish to plan in advance to make sure that your wishes about treatment will be followed if you became unable to decide for yourself for a short or a long time period. If you don’t plan ahead, family members or other people close to you may not be allowed to make decisions for you and follow your wishes.
In New York State, appointing someone you can trust to decide about treatment if you become unable to decide for yourself is the best way to protect your treatment wishes and concerns. You have the right to appoint someone by filling out a form called a Health Care Proxy. A copy of the form and information about the Health Care Proxy are available from your health care provider.
If you have no one you can appoint to decide for you, or do not want to appoint someone you can also give specific instructions about treatment in advance. Those instructions can be written, and are often referred to as a Living Will.
You should understand that general instructions about refusing treatment, even if written down, may not be effective. Your instructions must clearly cover the treatment decisions that must be made. For example, if you just write down that you do not want “heroic measures” the instructions may not be specific enough. You should say the kind of treatment that you do not want, such as respirator or chemotherapy, and describe the medical condition.
Appointing Your Health Care Agent
Why should I choose a health care agent?
If you become too sick to make health care decisions, someone else must decide for you.
How can 1 appoint a health care agent?
All competent adults can appoint a health care agent by signing a form called a Health Care Proxy. You don’t need a lawyer, just two adult witnesses. You can use the form printed here, but you don’t have to.
When would my health care agent begin to make treatment decisions for me?
Your health care agent would begin to make treatment decisions after doctors decide that you are not able to make health cate decision. As long as you are able to make treatment decisions for yourself, you will have the right to do so.
What decisions can my health care agent make?
Unless you limit your health care agent’s authority, your agent will be able to make any treatment decision that you could have made if you were able to decide for yourself. Your agent can agree that you should receive treatment, choose among different treatments and decide that treatments should not be provided, in accord with