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FAQ > Ethics > Advance Directives
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  Advance Directives
About Advance Directives.
2 Why would I want both a Living Will AND a Medica...

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Requested and Answered by Chapster on 21-Mar-2007 07:34 (4106 reads)
Often, if one is not able to make their own wishes known and there is a valid advance directive available previously made, its intent will be honored across state lines. But, one should not presume that this will be the case. Some states go to great pains to clarify that one should not assume that this will be the case.

The upshot of all this is that you should have an advance directive made for the state or jurisdiction in which you live.

As an additional piece of information, we have occasionally encountered people who thought they would try to make an advance directive in each hospital in which they had been admitted. The intent is praiseworthy. But, what they didn't realize was that each new advance directive at each new facility or hospital voided the previous one. OF course, that was in Texas. Other states laws may vary. Here, though, when you a create a new Advance Directive your previous one is voided (assuming its the same kind). It's better to make a bunch of copies of your advance directives and take them with you to the hospital any time you are admitted.

Always discuss any questions about advance directives or legal issues with an attorney who is familiar with the laws of your state or jurisdiction.


Requested and Answered by Chapster on 31-Mar-2007 00:51 (3906 reads)
Because in some states, Texas for example, the Living Will allows you to do two things prior to being in a terminal or irreversible condition where you can't make your needs known:

Say what kind of care you would like you would like;
Say whom you would like to make choices for you

See that last thing, "Say whom you would like to make choices for you." Well, the little clause where it allows you to say who makes choices is not really very strong. In most cases you'll be just fine filling it out. But, in families where people have very different opinions about values, ethics, then the whole thing can end up in court faster than you can blink an eye. When that happens, trust me, you'll want a Medical Power of Attorney.

Now, why would that be the case? Because the Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) spells out everyone's obligations really clearly - the doctor's, the person you name as your agent, your responsibilities - everyone's. And when you end up in court, if you don't have the strongest possible support for your views, guess what? You may well lose and have exactly the care you didn't want.

Now, here's another neat little part of this whole package. If you have BOTH the Living Will and the Medical Power of Attorney, you agent is obligated to follow ALL your choices and values as expressed in that Living Will. If they don't THEN they can be legally removed as your agent. If a doctor doesn't follow your wishes, they must refer you to another doctor who will. So, take our non-legal advice - GET BOTH!