Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney
A Living Will is a document that provides your instructions for medical care if you become terminally ill and unable to express your wishes, such as which life sustaining treatments you want or do not want administered. You can express your desires as to what extraordinary life support measures you want taken or not taken to prolong your life. These medical directives are recognized by law in the State of Maryland.
A Medical (or Health Care) Power of Attorney is the companion document to the Living Will. The Medical Power of Attorney appoints a person as your agent to make medical decisions about your health care if you become unable to make those decisions. The person selected as your agent is an advocate for you, the patient, in making sure that your desires are carried out. It is important that you appoint someone who understands your intent and agrees to advocate aggressively your desires.
For effective Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney:
- Discuss your wishes with your family members so they have a clear understanding of your desires.
- Discuss your wishes with your doctor. If you discover your doctor is not willing to abide by your wishes, choose a new doctor.
- Select an agent in your Medical Power of Attorney who will act aggressively on your behalf. Do not select someone because they are your favorite family member to go shopping with.
- Select someone who supports your desires and will act to implement them should the need arise.