WHO NEEDS A MEDICAL DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY?
Anyone who drives, bikes, skies, or has a pulse, really. Accidents and serious illness don’t wait for advanced age, particularly in Colorado where we tend to be active and get out a lot.
What does a medical POA due? It allows someone you pick to speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself. It gives doctors the legal authority to talk with your Agent and present the options for your care. Then it allows your Agent to pick the option they think you would want. It’s a powerful legal document that can save your life. Why? Because hospitals are very busy places and having someone with authority can mean catching errors and making sure you get help when you need it. Example: The Agent who noted that their very ill relative was about to get a triple dose of antibiotics within a 24 hour period. Or the Agent who pointed out that their relative was in pain and insisted they get painkiller after being told their unconscious relative could hit the painkiller pump. (Seriously.)
How do you get a Medical POA? You can go online or to a hospital for a form called something like “My Wishes” or an outdated Living Will and it will be fairly cheap or free. Or you can get a more powerful document that gives your Agent the legal right to act in your best interest according to what you have specified in your Medical POA. I think Medical POAs are best in a crisis, since doctors need to have a strong enough document to give their honest opinion without fear of being sued and they need to have the authority to do what’s sensible either from you or your Agent. Otherwise, their job is to keep you alive and offer whatever treatments seem advisable; which is great some of the time but they can’t guess what your preferences would be, particularly in a crisis. Meanwhile, your Agent needs the power to ask questions and direct your care.
If online forms seem dicey and too impersonal, go to an attorney who will talk to you about the options and ask questions to determine what matters most to you before drafting the document. Each client is different, which means each POA is different. We all have accidents and mishaps, make sure someone can speak for you if you’re not able. Most attorneys do a flat fee package with this document; it’s affordable and far better than bad medical results!