Specific Medical Decisions That Your Health Care Proxy May Have To Make

A medical power of attorney gives a person the power to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated and unable to do so. The individual who receives this power may be known by different names such as agent, health care proxy or even health care surrogate. As you can imagine, such a person may have to make very difficult decisions (touching on life and death issues) on your behalf. Some of the important decisions that he or she may have to make include:

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

Commonly known by the acronym CPR, this procedure involves procedures aimed at restoring spontaneous blood circulation and breathing when a person's heart stops beating. Resuscitation is one of the most controversial medical decisions. This is probably because, if it fails, it can leave you brain damaged.

Aggressive Treatment

If you are extremely sick, say with a terminal disease, and you develop another infection, would you want this secondary infection to be treated? Before you answer, consider the fact that this secondary infection may require aggressive treatment that will exert additional stress and side effects on your body. In fact, the treatment may make you more uncomfortable. Some people would choose to have all medicals conditions and infections treated while others would elect to have the disease run its course.

Tube Feeding

If you are so sick that you cannot eat through your mouth or swallow food, then your doctors will feed you through a medical tube. The tube delivers nutrition and water directly to your veins or your stomach, the latter only if your stomach is still normally functioning.

The main question is how long you would want to continue in that state, especially if there is no realistic chance of restoring your normal functions. Many people wouldn't want it to continue forever, but when you do decide that it is enough? That may be a question for your health care agent.

Mechanical Ventilation

Breathing is essential to life, and when your medical condition makes you unable to breathe on your own, you may be hooked to a mechanical ventilator. The ventilator takes over your breathing and supplies you with the oxygen. Again, the main question has to do with how long you wish to be hooked to the ventilator.

As you can see, your health care proxy is a very powerful individual. This means that you should be very careful when choosing such a person. Of course, you also need to make the directive legal. Otherwise, it may be overturned by other people when you need the directives most. For more information about how to do this, contact a lawyer in your area.