Your Right to Choose or Refuse Medical Treatment

Posted on June 1, 2016

by Margie Connolly

Margaret McCullough Connolly, Sugar Land Attorney and Counselor at Law

All adults have the right to be informed, before medical treatment, of certain things:

1. The proposed treatment

2. The possible outcomes and risks of the proposed treatment

3. The risks of refusing treatment

4. Other possible methods of treatment

This is called “Informed Consent.”

But, what happens if you are unable to consent or to understand the nature of the proposed treatment due to a physical or mental impairment?

A MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY allows you to appoint or name an “agent” (usually a relative or trusted friend) to make informed health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. This person can speak for you ONLY if you are unable. This document MAY give them the authority to make “end of life” decisions, such as discontinuing life support, but only in the absence of an ADVANCE DIRECTIVE.

An ADVANCE DIRECTIVE is a document which allows you to decide, for yourself, and while you are able, your preference as to artificial life support, in the event you are diagnosed as terminal. This document states your wishes as to continuing or discontinuing artificial life support, and saves your family from the agonizing decision, and/ or litigation.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney for more information.