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DrThomasMd
DrThomasMd,
Category: Legal
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My 89 year old mother-in-law,

Customer Question

My 89 year old mother-in-law, Bonnie, has progressing dementia. She was recently in the hospital for recurring dizzy spells. The internist who treated Bonnie told my husband and me (my husband, Jeff, is her son and has DPOA) that Bonnie should not be driving, not because of the dizzy spells but because of the dementia. Our family has been concerned about Bonnie's ability to drive for a while and have mentioned to her that she should stop driving-BUT- as you can guess--this suggestion did not go over very well. I suggested to the internist that he order her not to drive because of the recurring dizzy spells that she has been having. The internist thought her recurring dizzy spells might hamper her ability to drive and did order a driving restriction until she has been cleared by her cardiologist. We felt that the 'dizziness' would be a good reason to keep her off the road. Bonnie would never agree that she has dementia and that dementia would be a reason for her to stop driving. Needless to say, Bonnie is totally enraged at the idea that she has to give up the keys. She insists that she can and will drive. Yikes! You may have had to deal with this problem yourself! My questions are: 1) Does an MD have the legal right to state that someone should not drive? 2) What right(s) does my husband have - can he pull the keys and car away from her? 3)Is 'dementia' a diagnosis that can curtail or end a person's driving career? We live in Washington State. 4) If she does continue to drive, would my husband be liable as her DPOA for any damage that she does? 5) Should we increase her vehicle liability insurance to 2-3 million to cover any accidents? And-if the insurance company found out that her doctor and her family had concerns about her driving, would the insurance company have to pay? 6) How in the heck can we get those darn keys??? Bonnie is absolutely furious about having her driving abilities questioned and having a reasonable discussion with her about this is not possible. I would appreciate any advice you have about how to get Bonnie off the road. I would be absolutely heartsick if she had a car accident that either injured or killed herself or someone else. Thank you very much, Wendy XXXXX

Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  DrThomasMd replied 12 months ago.

DrThomasMd :

hello

DrThomasMd :

1. yes

DrThomasMd :

2. that is more of a tricky legal question, but probably so

DrThomasMd :

3.yes

DrThomasMd :

4. another legal question, not medical, probably anyone who knows and does not report this might be in trouble.

DrThomasMd :

5. She should stop driving, the doctor says.

DrThomasMd :

6.

DrThomasMd :

Have the doctor send a report the the bureau of motor vehicles right now.

DrThomasMd :

That will solve the problems.

Customer :

I had selected 'lawyer' to answer my question. I am sure that you read my question. Do you feel you can help me with the legal issues?

DrThomasMd :

no just the medical questions

DrThomasMd :

I don't know why it is in medical

DrThomasMd :

I will have it transferred, hang on.

Expert:  DrThomasMd replied 12 months ago.
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