Living Will and Health Care Surrogate Designation
- A Living Will is a legal document in which you have the opportunity to state your wishes regarding life-prolonging treatment and artificially provided nutrition and hydration if or when you no longer have decisional capacity, have a terminal condition, and become permanently unconscious with no hope of recovery as determined by your attending physician and one other physician.
- A Living Will only takes effect when you are terminally ill and/or in an irreversible state. It becomes your voice in decision making when it comes to your medical care.
- You can direct that treatment be withheld or withdrawn and that you be allowed to die naturally with only the administration of medication for the relief of pain or the performance of any medical treatment deemed necessary to alleviate pain once you have reached a terminal or irreversible condition. This condition must be determined by your regular treating physician and one other physician.
- You can direct the withholding or withdrawal of artificially provided food, water or other artificially provided nourishments or fluids if you so desire.
- The directives you set forth in the Living Will are carried out by a Healthcare Surrogate. This individual who serves as your Healthcare Surrogate should be someone who will be vigilant and capable in making sure that your wishes and directives in the Living Will are carried out.
- By having a Living Will, you will be able to make your wishes clear and understood to your spouse, loved ones, and family. It will spare them of having to make that difficult decision regarding whether or not to keep you on life support when you are no longer able to speak for yourself and in a terminal or irreversible state. A Living Will provides direction to them in what can be a most difficult time.