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John Legal
John Legal, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Over 15 years legal experience.
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Parent is in a Missouri long term acute care hospital and machine

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Parent is in a Missouri long term acute care hospital and machine dependent. Doctors say no hope of getting better. Parent has been acutely ill for 2 1/2 months and has medicare/medicaid only. No advances directives and no DPOA. Was told today by doctors that as the oldest child (of 4 children) the decision is mine to make (DNR, Full Code, pallitive/comfort care) as we can not all agree what direction to take. Is this correct? (Why wait this long to tell me?)
Welcome! Thank you for your question.

Unfortunately that is not correct. There are no statutes in Missouri that authorize the next of kin to make medical decisions for the mentally incapacitated adult. Forty-nine states currently permit the next of kin to make medical decisions of incapacitated relatives, the exception being Missouri. Missouri has a Living Will Statute that requires two witnesses to any signed advanced directive that results in a DNR/DNI code status in the hospital.

The only what that you or any other next of kin have authority to consent to termination of life support is to file a petition to have your parent declared incompetent and a guardian appointed for them. This is done through the probate court in Missouri.

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