Most of us do our best to plan for the future. We buy insurance, pay our bills, take our medication, see the doctor and eat right.
There is one area that needs particular attention and that is Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. Most of us don’t think we are going to die soon, so this is one task we often avoid or postpone. Everyone should have a Durable Power of Attorney that meets the California codes.
This document is the legal right given by the law to someone else to make health care decisions for terminating care or ending life supports given to a critically and terminally ill person. This agreement is written and signed in the presence of a lawyer, notary or witnesses.
Most of us have an idea about what we would like to have happen at the end of our lives, but unless your wishes are made known and provided in a properly prepared legal document, the law will supersede all your good intentions.
Everyone who has a particular desire as to end of life actions should consult with an attorney before signing documents. The Durable Power of Attorney will instruct all first responders in how to treat you at the end of your life. Copies should be placed with the hospital, your doctors, attorney and family members.
First responders view every 911 call as a plea for help in a life threatening situation. Their goal is to rescue and save lives. Unless the caller can provide documentation to first responders as to any alternate response, all efforts will be made to save life, regardless of the verbal requests of family members.
The Durable Power of Attorney must be completely filled out and signed by the patient. If there are blanks in the form or unsigned pages or paragraphs, the document has no affect and is not binding on anyone.
If you are clear on your intentions, please make the efforts to get them in writing and on a generally recognized form. First responders are there to save lives, not to complicate a patient’s wishes in an end of life situation.