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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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A Health Care Proxy, as I understand it has the right to make

Customer Question

A Health Care Proxy, as I understand it has the right to make decisions for a person who cannot make them for themselves like my mother who has Alzheimers. I've been told by a relative who is a nurse that they are taught in school about patient rights, and they have a right to refuse treatment. An attorney has referred to my role with doctors, to enable "informed consent". These do not seem to be the same to me, but maybe there is not a distinction made formally. (unless informed consent simply permits of the option not to consent at all ergo refuse treatment). Hope I'm making sense. I'm getting at a means to prevent doctors and the healthcare system to impose treatment, medicines, dose changes with disregard to a Heath Care Proxy. Can you clarify?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Legalease replied 3 years ago.

Hello there

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I know that this concept can be difficult to understand when there are usually so many people involved in the end of life care decisions in the first place. Generally speaking, a person signs a health care proxy to designatre a family member/friend, etc. to make those important medical decisions for them in the event that they are mentally and/or physically incapable of making those decisions. THese situations can be very easy -- in a case where someone is not even conscious and decisions must be made for them then the Health Care Proxy is the latest and greatest thing for that person who cannot make their own decisions to get the proper care in accordance with their wishes expressed through the person who they chose as their Proxy at an earlier time.

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Troubles arise when the person who has earlier signed a Health Care Proxy may be mentally and emotionally unstable and the doctors will have to determine whether or not to listen to the patient (who requests one method of care) or whether to listen to the Proxy (who is requesting another means of care or to completely stop the care being given to the patient). It is situations like this where doctors sometimes have to override the proxy because the patient seems lucid enough to make their own decisions and the proxy seems to be not necessary.

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MARY

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

You missed the point. I asked about Informed consent vs. Right to refuse treatment. I also explained my mother has Alzheimers. In fact she has no mind to decide a thing. The 2nd part of the question is about a physician's right to impose changes against a HCP or without their consent.

Expert:  Legalease replied 3 years ago.

Hello again -

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The point is that a doctor can override a health care proxy and /or override decisions made by the selected person if the doctor feels that the person is still in their right mind to make those decisions.

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However, I do think that you need to elaborate on the questions for another expert to understand what it is you are asking -- exactly --. And you should probably post each question separately so what you are seeking is clear to anyone reading each ???? individually / separately.

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Due to our mis communication earlier, I am going to opt out of the question and ask that one of our collegues step in to assist you tonight

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THANK YOU !!

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MARY

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Good enough. You didn't get it. There's no point in your response regarding overide... I've already said my mother has Alzheimer's and CANNOT decide or answer to such issues. That is why I take her place in this function. Please opt out.

Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 3 years ago.
Dear Customer,

I am a different contributor and hope that I can be of some assistance.

The problem that often comes up here is that the scope of powers for a Health Care Proxy, or "Health Care Agent" is limited by the individual writing the Advanced Health Care Directive appointing this Proxy.

I will assume that the Directive that appoints you as Proxy for your mother is broad, and allows you to make all decisions in the event she is incapacitated. The law is clear, if she is unable to make decisions (due to incapacity, unconsciousness or some other issue), you make the decisions.

There may be parameters placed on your decisions. Many Advanced Health Care Directives have instructions regarding end of life care and use of life support. If the document does not allow for those treatments, you cannot override those, your powers are limited by the document.

Physicians and other medical personnel are required to follow the instructions by the Health Care Proxy. If a physician is unwilling to follow these instructions, he or she must arrange for transfer of the patient to another facility that can honor those instructions.

I hope that this helps. You can find more information regarding your state's laws in particular at the following website: http://www.dsf.health.state.pa.us/health/lib/health/publicnotices/Sample_Forms_for_Advance_Directives.pdf

I hope that my answer was of assistance to you. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you for your business!