What Is A Health Care Surrogate?
A health care surrogate is a legal designation given to an individual who is authorized to make health care decisions for another person if that person becomes unable to make those decisions themselves. This position is also known as a health care proxy or agent.
Why Is A Health Care Surrogate Important?
A health care surrogate is important because unforeseen accidents or illnesses can happen at any time leaving a person unable to make decisions about their own medical treatment. By appointing a health care surrogate individuals can ensure that someone they trust will be able to make decisions about their medical care in accordance with their wishes.
How Does One Appoint A Health Care Surrogate?
To appoint a health care surrogate a person must create a legal document called an advance directive or a living will. This document spells out the individual’s wishes for their medical treatment if they are ever unable to communicate those wishes themselves. The document must be signed witnessed according to applicable state law.
The health care surrogate must also be selected appointed in writing. The document designating the surrogate will name the individual describe their authority to act on behalf of the incapacitated person. Most states require that the document be signed by the individual the surrogate one or more witnesses.
What Are The Responsibilities Of A Health Care Surrogate?
The primary responsibility of a health care surrogate is to make medical decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person. The surrogate must make decisions in accordance with the incapacitated person’s wishes as expressed in their advance directive or living will.
If the incapacitated person did not leave specific instructions the surrogate must make decisions in their best interest. The surrogate should consult with medical professionals other family members to make informed decisions.
In conclusion a health care surrogate is an important legal designation that allows an individual to appoint someone they trust to make medical decisions for them if they are ever incapacitated. By having a health care surrogate individuals can ensure that their wishes for their medical treatment are respected if they are not able to communicate those wishes themselves.
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