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Gainesville Medical Power of Attorney | Ocala Medical Power of Attorney

 

A person is presumed to be capable of making health care decisions for themselves unless they are determined to be incapacitated. A patient is considered incapable of making health care decisions for themselves only after an attending physician notes in the patient’s chart that the patient lacks the mental ability to make health care decisions or give informed consent or in the case where a Court determines the individual to be incapacitated.

Before becoming incapacitated, a person can sign a written document that names another person to act as a surrogate to make health care decisions for the person if they can no longer make decisions for themself. This document must be signed by the person making the designation in the presence of two adult witnesses. A person physically unable to sign this document may, in the presence of two witnesses, direct that another person sign the document for him or her. The person who is to serve as the surrogate cannot witness the signing of the document. At least one of the witnesses must be someone other than the patient’s spouse or blood relative. A document designating a health care surrogate may also designate an alternate surrogate. The alternate surrogate may assume his or her duties as surrogate if the person originally named as surrogate is unwilling or unable to perform his or her duties.

A health care surrogate has the authority to make all health care decisions for the person during a time of mental incapacity. The surrogate must make all decisions in accordance with the previous instructions of the person for whom he or she is serving. Health care decisions include consenting, refusing to consent, or withdrawing consent to any and all health care, including life prolonging procedures. Health care decisions also include applying for private, public, government, or veterans’ benefits to defray the cost of health care. A health care surrogate also has the right to access all medical records of the person who designated him or her that are necessary for the health surrogate to make decisions involving health care and to apply for benefits.

A surrogate’s authority to make health care decisions remains in effect until there is a determination that the person who signed the health care designation has regained the capacity to make medical decisions.