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If you are 18 years old or older, and you're reading this, you have the right to make your own medical decisions. But that could change in an instant.

For example, an accident or illness could leave you — temporarily or permanently — unable to make those decisions.

That is why it is so important that every adult have a carefully drafted Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. The International Task Force's (ITF) Protective Medical Decisions Document (PMDD) is one such legal document that allows a person to name someone to make those decisions in the event they cannot make them for themselves.

Parents of college students take it for granted that, if they are paying for their child's medical care, they always have the right to make medical decisions for a son or daughter who becomes unable to do so. But that is not the case.

In fact, they may even be unable to get information about a hospitalized adult child's medical condition.

However, the person who is designated in a PMDD to make health care decisions can have access to such information. Young adults can designate a parent as their decision maker so that, in the event of a sports injury, illness or accident, someone who knows and loves them will have the authority to protect their lives and well-being. That's why a PMDD should be one of the necessities given to each and every 18-year-old.

To obtain a PMDD package from the ITF for yourself, for a college student, or for anyone else, call 800.958.5678 and ask about the PMDD package.