There are legal documents that can be of importance to you and your physician. The Texas Health and Safety Code authorizes four different documents that are collectively called Advance Directives.
These four documents are: Directive to Physicians; Out of Hospital Do No Resuscitate Orders; Medical Power of Attorney; and Health Care Facility Do Not Resuscitate Orders.
Everyone should seriously consider a Directive to Physicians and a Medical Power of Attorney. The Out of Hospital and Health Care Facility Do Not Resuscitate Orders are only for special circumstances.
A Directive to Physicians is your instructions as to what kind of care you want to receive if you have a terminal condition which will produce death within six months even with life-sustaining treatment in accordance with prevailing standards of medical care, or an irreversible condition that leaves you unable to care for or make decisions for yourself and that without life-sustaining treatment is fatal.
These instructions are directed to your physician, but they are just as important for your family. Put your wishes in writing, tell your family what you want and execute the proper legal document.
A Medical Power of Attorney is the appointment of an agent to make health care decisions for you, but only if you cannot make your own decision. This is important for everyone but especially for people who are not married and don’t have children.
The two Do Not Resuscitate orders should be discussed with your physician. These are most appropriate for persons who have already been diagnosed with a terminal illness. They should not be confused with the Directive to Physicians.
Proper estate planning includes Advance Directives, and you should discuss them with your estate planning attorney.
Mr. Morris joined Hammerle Finley Law Firm in 1994. His areas of practice included Civil Litigation and Probate. He now primarily practices in the area of Estate Planning, Probate, and Medicaid planning.