Protecting You When You Don’t Have a Voice

There are many things we do not know, but one thing most of us know is which medical treatments we are and are not comfortable with. We know what we want to happen to us if we are ever in the hospital. We know which treatments we want to avoid and why. We also know which life-saving measures we want and which ones we want to avoid at all costs.

An advanced medical directive involves you sitting down with your attorney and forming a plan. This plan will include the treatments you wish to receive and which ones you want to avoid at all costs. This document is one of the first things your doctor will check when determining your treatment plan should you be in a position where you are unable to speak for yourself.

Your medical directive allows you to make important healthcare decisions, regardless of your capacity to inform your doctor of your wishes.

What is a Medical Directive?

A medical directive is a legal document that has instructions to be followed regarding your healthcare decisions should you be incapacitated. Medical directives may be referred to as a living will advance healthcare directive, power of attorney for healthcare, or a healthcare proxy.

Your medical directive will name a proxy, a representative who can make important decisions for you should you be unable to do so. The directive itself will also contain instructions that healthcare professionals will follow.

What Should You Include in Your Medical Directive?

A medical directive is strictly used to make healthcare decisions. You can not include your wishes regarding property distribution or other after-death matters.

Here are some of the topics and matters your directive should address.

Your Medical Proxy

You will assign a representative to act as your medical proxy. This person will be allowed to make important medical decisions on your behalf should you be unable to. This can be a family member, a trusted friend, your lawyer, or any other trusted person.

Your Proxy’s Decision Making Authority

You can outline when your proxy can and can not make healthcare decisions for you, as well as which decisions you are allowed to make. You can specify that they are allowed to make important decisions regarding medical concerns not outlined in your directive. Still, you would like your directive to be the only authority regarding medical decisions covered under your directive.

Specific Medical Instructions

You can use your directive to outline instructions you would like followed regarding medical treatments, medication, surgeries, transfusions, transplants, donating your organs, and more. A good example of this would be in cases where you may have a preexisting medical condition and would like it treated a certain way should you be incapacitated.

Life Extending Measures

You can leave instructions regarding medical practices that are used to extend life should you be unable to inform medical professionals yourself. You can detail if you are comfortable receiving CPR, a feeding tube, medications, breathing assistance, dialysis, forced oxygen, and other life-extending measures.

When the Directive Expires

You can determine whether your directive will naturally expire on a certain date, expire after a major medical event, or after a major family change, such as divorcing your spouse.

What If You Don’t Have a Medical Directive?

You are not required to have an advanced medical directive. For the most part, your doctors and your family will likely make decisions that fall in line with your wishes. But what if there is a dispute concerning what your medical wishes supposedly were? What if you are left in a state where you are alive but unable to communicate, leaving major medical treatments and decisions up to your family, friends, and medical staff to determine?

Even worse, what if they can’t agree on what you would have wanted? Maybe your brother wants to put you on a ventilator, but your wife says you never wanted to be artificially kept alive. This can result in more heartache for your family, who is already dealing with whatever landed you in the hospital in the first place.

This can lead to a legal battle, resulting in your friends and family sitting in a courtroom battling over what you may or may not have wanted to happen instead of spending time working together to follow your medical directive and either getting you healthy in a way you are comfortable with or helping comfort you as you move on from this life to the next.

When you work with an attorney to create a medical directive, you take chance out of the equation. You lay out a roadmap of how you would like to be cared for so that your family doesn’t have to guess what you would have wanted.

When Should You Draft a Medical Directive?

The best time to create a medical directive is right now. You may see yourself as young, fit, and healthy, but what if the unimaginable happens, and you are put in a position where you can’t speak for yourself? Where do you need drastic medical attention that may come in the form of life-extending treatments?

Call 540-386-1277 to schedule a free consultation with the compassionate Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC team. This is your opportunity to speak with a medical directives lawyer, ask the hard questions, and get the answers you need in order to make an informed decision.

Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC offers legal assistance regarding healthcare directives meeting all of the legal requirements. Our law firm will work with you and your unique situation in order to create a directive that matches your wishes and upholds your medical authority, as well as pick a proxy that will work for your best health and interests.


Contact Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC Offices Today!

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