What It Really Means to Have a Living WIll and Health Care Surrogate
Published on December 10, 2017 by Muenter Law
It is human nature to have your own preferences. Some people love cilantro, while others are revolted by the taste. Some enjoy sitting for hours to read a book, while other people crave the action of the outdoors. Similarly, though some people wish to be resuscitated during a medical emergency, others prefer not to receive any intervention treatment. Such important care decisions must be reflected in a living will and protected by a health care surrogate.
Why Get a Living Will?
When you create a living will, you create a document that specifies your health care preferences if you become terminally ill, severely injured, or permanently unconscious. The decisions that you need to make include whether you want to be kept alive on life support, resuscitation, nourished with the use of feeding tubes and artificial hydration, and more. If you have strong preferences relating to the refusal of or desire for specific medical treatment once you no longer can communicate your desires on your own, then writing a living will should be a top priority for you.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Health Care Surrogate?
A health care surrogate is the person that you select to make your health care decisions after you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. Most people select a friend or relative to serve as health care surrogate. Whoever your health care surrogate is, he has the vital responsibility of making health care decisions on your behalf by acting in your best interests and taking your values into consideration. If you have a living will, your health care surrogate has a clear guide to help him make decisions.
Does It Matter? A Real Life Example
While some people welcome the possibility of being resuscitated when they are near death, others are firmly set against the idea. One Miami, Florida man felt so strongly opposed to being resuscitated that he tattooed the words “do not resuscitate” on his chest and even had his signature tattooed beneath the statement! The 70-year-old man with lung disease, heart problems, and diabetes clearly knew what he wanted, but doctors could not treat his tattoo like a formal living will. They had to confer with a medical ethics expert to determine the best response to the man’s tattoo.
Preparing and organizing legal documents for end-of-life and emergency care is essential for you and your family members. Nobody can predict when an illness or injury will strike, and with the help of a living will and health care surrogate, you can ensure that your healthcare is handled to your exact wishes. Call Kimberly K. Muenter, P.A in Tampa, Florida at (813) 906- 1064 now to begin your estate planning process with a legal expert. Attorney Muenter will provide the comprehensive legal support you need to help you plan for the future.
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