WHY DO YOU NEED A
MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY?
The case of Terri Schiavo in Florida has made us painfully aware of the possibility of being in a coma and never improving. Terri had a heart attack in 1990 which caused severe brain damage. She had been on a feeding tube for over 10 years.
Her husband wanted to terminate life support. Her parents wanted to keep her on the feeding tube and care for her. Some doctors testified she was brain dead and would never recover. Others said that she could possibly recover. What was missing was a document that said what Terri herself wanted. After tens of thousands of dollars in legal and medical expense, the court allowed the feeding tubes removed and Terri died a few days later.
Michigan law allows you to name a “patient advocate” to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to participate in decisions. The decision could be as simple as allowing basic medical treatment in case you were unconscious after a fall in the home. The decision could be as serious as removing life support if you were very close to death and suffering.
Without a properly prepared medical power of attorney or patient advocate designation form, it is possible that the medical personnel will refuse to treat, even if the spouse or adult child of the patient says to go ahead.
Michigan law requires specific language to authorize withdrawal of life support. Forms from the internet or from Oprah or some other source likely do not have the correct Michigan language. The old fashioned “living will” form which just says “This is what I want” does not satisfy the Michigan requirement that you must appoint a decision maker.
Recently, the Federal health care privacy rules known as HIPAA went into effect. These prohibit doctors and other health professionals from disclosing any medical information to anyone, including a spouse or child or parent of an adult without specific authorization. The forms you have been signing on your last few visits to your doctors and dentists are not forms authorizing your family to receive information. They are warnings that unless you get your forms in order, the doctor will not tell anyone anything about your condition.
PLEASE CALL 248-886-8622 FOR A FREE REVIEW OF YOUR MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY NEEDS AND YOUR COMPLIMENTARY HIPAA PRIVACY RELEASE