Medical Power of Attorney
Power of Attorneys (POAs) are documents that grant another person to act on your behalf. Medical POAs are a subset of POAs that focus on medical issues. They’re designed to allow the maker to assign another person to make medical decisions on their behalf.
We cover POAs in detail in our Advance Directives Section.
Example Scenario For Medical POA
A Medical Power of Attorney covers medical issues. Let’s look at a scenario and examine how a Medical Power of Attorney might apply. Keep in mind that Medical POAs are usually invoked during very stressful times. When they’re invoked, the maker is often chronically ill, unconscious, suffering, in a hospital, at the end of their life, or some combination.
Betty is ninety-five years old and is in the hospital. She has Stage 3 breast cancer that has metastasized through her chest and also has kidney failure. She is intubated and on dialysis. She is unable to communicate effectively. Betty’s husband has Alzheimer’s and is in a nursing home. Betty has two children, a son Bob, and a daughter Diane. They disagree on treatments for their mother. Bob wants to take his Mother off of the machines. Diane wants to keep her Mother on the machines.
Betty has a Medical Power of Attorney granting her son Bob authority for making medical decisions. He wants to take Betty off of the machines, however, Diane insists that their mother said she wanted to attend Thanksgivng with the family.
Decisions Agents Make In Medical Power of Attorney
These are the decisions the maker wants the agent to make. They can be very broad or narrow.
An Agents Powers Kick In
The agents powers can kick in immediately or only in certain conditions are met. Here are a few examples.
The most difficult areas of medical POAs involve when to allow or continue life-sustaining treatments. These are things like feeding tubes, breathing machines and CPR. The most common ways to evaluate the desireability of these services is to weigh them on the mnakers desire to lkive a quality life versus a long life. The statements below are designed to anser this question.
Illinois statutory Medical Poer of Attorney here.