If an individual becomes incapacitated, maybe because of a mental illness like madness, he can no longer make health care choices for himself as he already did.
If he built a durable medical power of attorney, he designated an agent to get his health care choices if and when he becomes powerless to do so, and this agent is capable for following his choices closely and acting in his best consequences.
What is Durable Medical Power of Attorney?
The person who builds and signs the durable medical power of attorney is called the head, while the individual who is granted the authority to act on the principal’s behalf is usually called the health care agent or proxy.
A durable medical power of attorney provides the health care agent immense power and ability to make choices concerning the principal’s medical treatment, including medication, tests, nutrient, and hydration, as well as choices regarding surgery, doctors, hospitals and restoration facilities.
However, the principal can limit the agent’s authority and duties by adding specific conditions in the document itself.
Building an Effective Document
A principal must be of sound mind when he designs and signs the durable medical power of attorney; thus, it must be approved before the principal grows incapacitated.
Once approved, the agent can only use the power of attorney when the head is incapacitated since the agent has no right before the principal’s incapacitation.
Depending on state law, before the agent can work, licensed practitioners may have to give written certification that the principal is incapacitated.
If, after inability, the principal recovers his ability to make decisions for himself and is no longer disabled, the agent cannot proceed to act on his interest, so the agent has a duty to ensure he understands if and when the principal is incapacitated.
When an agent works on a principal’s behalf, she must act with care, ability, and diligence. Eventually, she must have the principal’s best concerns at heart. Usually, a principal will have a living will or health care directive in addition to his durable medical power of attorney, and the living will or directive supports to manage the agent’s decisions.
Agents must remain by the directions in a principal’s living will or health care directive. Living wills and directives may spell out the kinds of medical procedures, and life-sustaining means the principal needs or doesn’t want.
For example, a principal’s living will might see that he doesn’t need to go on a respirator or dialysis.
A principal may also have a Do Not Revive, or DNR, order, seldom as part of a living will. If so, the health administration agent must assure the principal’s practitioners are informed of this order.
Differences between States
All health care directives, living wills and durable medical powers of attorney must comply with state law.
Any states have special rules governing end-of-life decisions, such as a requirement that a doer must get a second doctor’s view before refusing life-sustaining procedure for the principal.
Emergency medical professionals usually cannot accept living wills or medicinal powers of attorney.
Not all states will accept a medical power of attorney or living will be issued in the different state, though many will accept such reports if they are legitimate under that particular state’s laws.