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Health Care Surrogate Question and Answer
What is a Health Care Surrogate? Any competent adult may also designate authority to a Health Care Surrogate to make all health care decisions during any period incapacity. During the maker’s incapacity, the Health Care Surrogate has the duty to consult expeditiously, with appropriate health care providers. The Surrogate also provides informed consent and makes only health care decisions for the maker, which he or she believes the maker would have made under the circumstances if the maker were capable of making such decisions. If there is no indication of what the maker would have chosen, the Surrogate may consider the maker’s best interest in deciding on a course of treatment. The suggested form of this instrument has been provided by the Legislature within Florida Statues Section 765.203.
How do I designate a Health Care Surrogate? Under Florida law, a designation of Health Care Surrogate should be made through a written document, and should be signed in the presence of two witnesses, at least one of whom is neither the spouse nor a blood relative of the maker. The person designated as Surrogate cannot act as a witness to the signing of the document.
Can I have more that one Health Care Surrogate? The maker can also explicitly designate an Alternate Surrogate. The Alternate Surrogate may assume the duties as Surrogate if the original Surrogate is unwilling or unable to perform his or her duties. If the maker is physically unable to sign the designation, her or she may, in the presence of witnesses, direct that another person sign the document. An exact copy of the designation must be provided to the Health Care Surrogate. Unless the designation states a time of termination, the designation will remain in effect until revoked by its maker.
Can the Living Will and the Health Care Surrogate designation be revoked? Both the Living Will and the Health Care Surrogate may be revoked by the maker at any time by a signed and dated letter of revocation; by physically canceling of destroying the original document; by an oral expression of one’s intent to revoke; or by means of a later executed document which is materially different from the former document. It is very important to tell the attending physician than that Living Will and Designation of Health Care Surrogate has been revoked.