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Advance Medical Directives

Directives are used to record your wishes about your health care, organ donation, disbursement of your remains, and possible autopsies done to your body.

Benefits of Advance Medical Directives

  • Can limit your agents authority
  • Can help identify moral disagreements with your doctor before hand
  • Allows your agent to make choices as you your condition changes
  • Determine what level of medical care you want
  • Choose your agent or Health Care Power of Attorney
  • Combines with a living will
  • Not limited to cases of terminal illness (like Living Wills)
  • Hospitals and doctors won't make choices for you
  • Prevents courts from appointing a stranger or undesirable agent
  • Allows your family to observe your last wishes
  • You can disallow untrusted family members from becoming your agent
  • You can leave more detailed instructions without naming an agent
  • You can allow or refuse to donate organs

Drawbacks of Advance Medical Directives

  • Doctors can refuse it
  • Your agent may be unavailable when needed
  • Your agent can make unrecorded choices for you
  • Once you're incompetent, it's hard to change
  • You may feel differently when faced with death
  • Improvements in medical technology may outdate your wishes
  • Health care providers cannot become your agent
  • Expensive choices in medical care could bankrupt your family
  • Your agent can change religious or moral views after appointed
  • Agents and/or alternates could disagree over your care
  • Bad choices by you could result in your premature death
  • May not be binding if it's not properly witnessed to
  • Witnesses cannot be family members, or have financial interest
  • If the document is lost, your wishes may not be met
  • Some orders (like "do not resuscitate") may have to be signed by your doctor