Commentary

Coronavirus & Your Right to Decide

Every American life is affected by the Coronavirus.

Many of us – including the lawyer writing this text – have first responders in our families, heroes fighting a medical war on the front lines. It has never been more important to let our families and our doctors know our wishes.

What would happen if you lost the ability to speak for yourself?  Would your family and doctors know exactly what you want?

Every hospital has general forms for “advance medical directives” and health care powers of attorney.  None that we have seen includes detailed instructions about artificial ventilation.

It’s your personal decision.  Today, more than ever before, it is important that all of us know what each of us wants.  Only you can do that for yourself, and for the rest of us.

That’s why we wrote this: to let you tell your family and your doctor what you want.

To leave no doubt about your wishes, print this form and sign it before witnesses (see here for the definition of “witness”).  This form only states your wishes about ventilation.  If you have an existing health care power of attorney, it adds to it.

Like any other legal document, talk with your lawyer if you have any questions about it.  If you would like us to help, contact us.

For further general information about health care powers of attorney, click here (Mayo Clinic).

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