Advanced Medical Directives

Advanced medical directives let others know what medical treatment you would want, or allows someone to make medical decisions for you, in the event you can’t express your wishes  yourself.  If you don’t have an advanced medical directive, medical care providers must prolong your life using artificial means, if necessary.  With today’s technology, physicians can sustain you for days and weeks (if not months or even years).

A living will allows you to approve or decline certain types of medical care, even if you will die as a result of that choice.  In most states, living wills take effect only under certain circumstances, such as terminal injury or illness.  Generally, one can be used only to decline medical treatment that “serves only to postpone the moment of death.”  In those states that do not allow living wills, you may still want to have one to serve as evidence of your wishes.

A health care surrogate allows you to appoint a representative to make medical decisions for you.  You decide how much power your representative will or won’t have.