Anyone who has had a relative (not their spouse) in a hospital, rehab, or nursing home knows this statement to be true: without a valid, binding medical power of attorney they may ask, but they won’t necessarily obey the answer. The reason is very simple. A medical power of attorney is a get out of jail free card, or a wild card in civil liability terms, for the Doctors and facility, it has very little to do with making choices.
Texas is not a right to die state. No one can assist another in committing suicide and whatever choices are made along the way the end result, the demise of a person, must the natural consequence of a treatment decision, but cannot be the certain result of a treatment decision.
Because the usual course of a physician’s life is made absolutely miserable almost anytime they have to interact with a lawyer (except as a patient, of course) most Doctors will temper their decisions with their own ethical requirements to cause no harm and to preserve life whenever they are in doubt and without a “get out of jail free” card in their favor, the will make close calls not resolved by the prior two principles on the basis of the safest legal course of action.
Anyone who wants to effectively choose when to pull the plug must, therefore, have a valid Medical Power of Attorney. The document only works if the patient is unable to make decisions, but it needs to be in place in the desire is to pass peaceably, painlessly and without artificial supports.
This article is written by an attorney at Wyatt & Mirabella, PC. Always consult an attorney before making any legal decisions. To make an appointment today for a free consultation, please click here to contact us.