August 5th, 2015 | Kathleen Miller

My Body, My Rules

If you lose the ability to communicate and make decisions, Washington State law enables the following people, in order of priority, to make healthcare decisions for you–withdrawing or withholding care:

  • A guardian with health care decision making authority, if one has been appointed
  • The person named in the durable power of attorney with health care decision making authority
  • Your spouse
  • Your adult children
  • Your parents
  • Your adult brothers and sisters

A durable power of attorney for health care is a legal document (revocable to you) allowing you to name a person as your health care agent–someone who is authorized to consent to, stop, or refuse most medical treatment for you if a physician determines you cannot make these decisions yourself. The person you choose should be a trusted family member or friend with whom you have dicussed your values and medical treatment choices. But keep in mind that people change–and that includes the people you trust the most as well as yourself. Who truly shares your values and understands the person you are today as well as the person you want to be in the future?

In my opinion, every person aged 18 and over should prepare a directive. This means children going off to college, senior trips, someone suddenly singler or getting a divorce, etc.

The choice is yours–no decision is a decision. Bad things happen to good people.

 

Image: economistgroup.com