Why? It is possible because of your illness or injury you may be unable to speak to a doctor or your relatives with questions about your care. You can plan in advance to assist whomever may speak on your behald about the medical treatment you receive if you become unable to decide for yourself.
A Health Care Proxy will convey what your wishes are and are followed and your health care decisions stay in the hands of people you trust and not the evil stepson.
New York State law grants you “rights” concerning your medical treatment. You have the right to accept or reject medical treatment including life-prolonging procedures such as intravenous and tube feeding and mechanical respiration.
New York institutions like hospitals and nursing homes are required to inform you before you are admitted as to whether or not they will be able to honor your right to accept or reject treatment or if you are already admitted they are required to transfer you to a facility that will.
If you have not done a Health Care Proxy and have lost the ability to make those decisions as to your medical treatment then someone close to you may make those decisions but as to who that person is, it is unknown and can be contested and a court determination might be necessary.
In 2010, the New York Senate passed the Family Health Care Decision Act which does allow family members or others who are close to you to make decisions regarding your medical treatment in accordance with your wishes but if unknown, your best interests.
In addition, under the state’s “Do Not Resuscitate” law a family member or another who is close to you may be granted the right to decide about what extraordinary medical treatment you will receive to restart your heart or your lungs if the heart stops or your breathing.
The Health Care Proxy will solve this problem and if you still need help or advice please contact my office.
Mark C. Gugino
Attorney at Law