The benefits of a medical power of attorney (POA) are important. This type of power of attorney is used in California to ensure a person’s wishes regarding medical treatments and procedures will be followed if they are rendered incapable of making those decisions for themselves.
For example, a medical power of attorney would allow you to assign medical-making decisions to your surrogate or agent. That way, should you ever suffer an accident that leaves you in a coma, your surrogate or agent can make healthcare decisions on your behalf and in keeping with what you would want.
The medical power of attorney document outlines what you would wish for your medical care, life saving measures, and other choices regarding your treatment.
Your designated agent can be a trusted family member or close friend or anyone you deem competent and trustworthy to understand and respect your wishes. You are giving this person the power to make decisions on your behalf when you cannot.
There could be a variety of treatment options presented by medical caregivers to address your medical condition. Your agent will need to choose what to allow and what not to allow depending on your desires. You will have shared your thinking ahead of time with your agent so they can make choices knowing this is what you would want.
For example, some people, for religious reasons, may not allow blood transfusions as a treatment. Your medical POA can specify that.
This option may have some specific individual conditions your agent has to consider. For example, if doctors want to prescribe a medication that is experimental, your agent may veto that medication if your agent understands this would not be in keeping with your thoughts.
On the other hand, if your agent knows your health issues and perhaps has consulted with your personal physician as you would have, he/she may agree that certain medications are okay for use.
Surgery is a big intervention and your agent needs to weight the pros and cons of the surgery, just as you would if you were able.
• End-of-life care
End-of-life care means instructions regarding what life-saving or life maintaining procedures you approve of.
For example, if to keep you alive, you would need to be on a breathing apparatus or a feeding tube, you may choose to tell your agent that you do not want this type of treatment even if without it, you would die. On the other hand, you may wish to express to your agent that you are not opposed to this, holding onto the hope that a cure may become available later.
The medical power of attorney does not cover the responsibilities of a Durable Power of Attorney. You will want to have both and we can take of helping you create that as well.
The idea of a medical power of attorney rests more with understanding and respecting the wishes of the individual rather than overriding their views to save their life. While this can be frustrating for loved ones who want to do anything to keep you with them, it’s important that your rights and perspective on dying with dignity be upheld. Remember that selecting your agent in your medical power of attorney is not about choosing the person closest to you, but rather the one who can represent your wishes the best.
As a Carlsbad-based attorney, Andrew Fesler provides the care, expertise, and efficiency in all aspects of estate planning including Medical POAs. Do not delay in setting up you Medical POA and your overall estate plan. To find out more, contact us today.