Many people have specific wishes about the actions they want taken (or not taken) in a medical crisis. However, during a crisis, you may be incapacitated and unable to make such decisions. To ensure your wishes will be obeyed, it is important to document them in an advance medical directive.
An advance medical directive, also called an advance health care directive, allows you to designate a trusted person to make decisions for you. It also allows you to state your specific wishes concerning certain medical situations.
When you appoint an agent, you designate someone else to make health care and medical decisions for you whenever and if ever you are deemed incapable of making an informed decision yourself. Your agent will be authorized to make decisions based on your wishes as stated in the document, and if your wishes are unclear, the agent can then decide based on what he or she believes is in your best interests.
An advance medical directive may also include instructions regarding life-saving measures such as tube feeding, IV fluids or CPR in the event that your death is imminent and medical treatment will not help you recover, or if you are in a coma and it is reasonably certain you will not recover. You may decide that you do not want any such treatments, or that you want such treatments within the limits of general standards of health care. You may also provide specific instructions about treatments that you do or do not want.
The McDevitt Law Office can help you establish an advance medical directive as part of planning your estate.