What you should know about your ‘living will’…
*Document your wishes concerning your medical treatments or a end-of-life:
A living will allows a person to document their wishes concerning their medical treatments at the end-of-their life. Many people in our society today does not want to be kept on life support once they’ve been deemed brain death, and before a living will can guide a medical decision, two physicians must certify:
(1) The person is unable to make medical decisions.
(2) A person is in a medical condition specified in the state’s living will law, i.e., permanent unconsciousness or terminal illness.
(3) Depending upon a state’s law, other requirements may also apply.
*Medical power of attorney:
When a person has a medical power of attorney (or healthcare proxy), it allows them to appoint a person who they feel they can trust as their health-care agent (or surrogate decision maker), and it gives them authority to make a medical decision on their behalf. A medical power of attorney cannot go into effect until the person’s physician has concluded they are unable to make their own medical decisions, and in addition:
(a) In case a person regains their ability to make their own decisions, their agent cannot continue to act on the person’s behalf.
(b) Before a person who has been assigned authority to make medical decisions on their behalf, and let’s say, they try to refuse a life-sustaining treatment on behalf of the ill person, a second physician might have to confirm the doctor’s assessment as to whether the person is incapable of making treatment decisions for themselves.
(c) There are many states that have additional requirements that apply only to decisions about life-sustaining medical treatments.
A person can also have an Advance directive which are legally valid throughout the United States. A person does not need to have a lawyer fill out an Advanced directive, an Advance directive becomes legally valid as soon as they sign it in front of required witnesses. It’s important to know, the laws governing Advance directives do vary from state to state, and it is important it is completed and signed in accordance to comply with the state’s law. It’s also important to know, Advance directives may have a different title in different states.
A medical emergency technician cannot honor living wills or medical powers of attorney. Once an emergency personnel arrives, they must do all they can to stabilize the person for transfer to a hospital, both from the accident site or from a home or another type of facility. Once a physician fully evaluates a person’s condition and they determine the underlying conditions, then an Advance directive can be implemented.
It’s important to know, one state’s Advance directive does not always work in another state. There are some states who will honor out-of-state Advance directive if they’re similar to their state’s own law; and then again, there are some states who do honor Advance directives; and then some states does not have an answer to this question. If you’re a person who lives or spends some time in other states, they should complete their Advance directives for all the states they spend a certain amount of time in.
Advance directives remain in effect until a person changes it, they do not expire unless a new Advance directive is completed, and this will invalidate the previous one. It’s important a person should always review their Advance directive on occasion in case they feel they want to change it, they should complete a whole new document.