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Medical Power Of Attorney

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What Is Medical Power Of Attorney? 

A medical power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone the authority to make healthcare decisions for you if you become incapable of making those decisions yourself. These decisions could be about treatment options, medication, and more. 

Deeper Definition

A medical power of attorney grants someone you trust the power to make important decisions for you if you become too ill or incapable of making those decisions. The person you assign this power is known as your proxy or healthcare agent. By law, they are to make decisions in your best interest.

A medical power of attorney can be non-durable and durable. A non-durable medical POA becomes invalid when a person becomes incapacitated. On the other hand, a durable medical POA becomes valid only when a person is incapacitated. When creating a medical POA, most people specify that it is durable.

A durable medical POA becomes effective immediately when a person becomes incapacitated. These include but are not limited to:

  • When under general anesthesia
  • Whilst suffering from dementia
  • When in a coma
  • After suffering from a stroke that impacts the ability to communicate.

Grim possibilities are something no one likes to consider. However, taking time to set up a medical POA in case an unexpected circumstance warrants it can ease the stress one’s family and loved ones would go through. For instance, if a person becomes incapacitated and does not have a medical POA, their family may go to court to obtain permission to make important decisions on their behalf. 

Medical Power Of Attorney Example 

A person is left incapacitated after being involved in a ghastly motorcycle accident. Before the accident, they had appointed a sibling their medical power of attorney. The sibling, now acting as their healthcare agent, would communicate to health care providers the kind of medical care the victim should or should not receive. The possibilities may include:

  • Surgery, medical treatments, medications
  • Which doctors and other health providers should oversee procedures
  • Where you live, i.e nursing homes, or residential long-term care
  • Disconnect or continue life support

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