Responses - Declarations / DPA / Advance Directives / Talking Points

Protecting Your Health Care Decisions

In order to protect yourself and those you love in the case of a life-threatening situation, it is imperative to have clear protocol for decision-making. The following is excerpted from the article “The MOST Important Life & Health Insurance: Protect Your Health Care Decisions”, by Rita Marker, J.D., Euthanasia: Imposed Death by Human Life Alliance, 2004; 6510484-1040; www.humanlife.org.

“In a durable power of attorney for health care, you designate a trusted family member or friend to make health care decisions for you if you are unable — either temporarily or permanently…

“Most people think such a document is only for those who are very sick or very old…It’s absolutely essential for anyone who is 18 years old or older.

“To be certain that a person you trust will be making decisions for you if you can’t do so yourself, you must have a durable power of attorney for health care that specifically names that person.

“As with any legal document, the wording of the durable power of attorney for health care is critically important. And it must comply with the laws in your state.

“That’s why the International Task Force (ITF) formulated the Protective Medical Decisions Document (PMDD). The PMDD is a durable power of attorney for health care that has been drafted to protect you.

“It gives the person you name to make your halth care decisions the authority to act on your behalf. That person is generally referred to as your ‘agent’.

“The PMDD limits your agent’s authority in one specific way. It clearly states that your agent does not have the authority to approve the direct and intentional ending of your life.

“For example, your agent may not authorize that you be given a lethal injection or an intentional drug over-dose. Further, your agent may not direct that you be denied food or fluids for the purpose of causing your death by starvation or dehydration.

“This limitation not only protects you, but it protects your agent from being subjected to pressure to authorize such actions…

“The PMDD makes it clear that DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders and decisions about what is ‘appropriate’ or ‘beneficial’ are to be made only by your agent (if you’re not able to do so)…

“When you have a PMDD, you or someone you’ve selected – not some unknown physician ro nameless bureaucrat – will make your health care decisions…”

International Task Force; 740-282-3810; www.internationaltaskforce.org