Vincent, Romeo & Rodriguez, LLC
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Are advance medical directives set in stone?

There are many things that must be considered when planning a final estate including all financial aspects, property distribution and documenting final wishes. One thing that should not be ignored is documenting end-of-life wishes for medical care. Setting advance medical directives may prove to be valuable for Colorado residents who would like to establish final wishes for what kind of medical care is to be given and what, if any, life-saving efforts are to be taken in the event of incapacity.

Providing instructions for medical care can help family members know what to do during a time that is generally very stressful, easing the burden that is typically placed on them. However, some may question if the documented medical directives are set in stone and if health care providers are required to follow those wishes. Medical providers should do all they can to provide the care requested and work with the individual's legal agent if there are concerns about those directives.

While medical providers do have a duty to comply with the instructions supplied in healthcare directives, there are certain exceptions that may apply. Exceptions surrounding the duty to follow an advance medical directive include if the directive violates the health provider's conscience or goes against hospital policy. While doctors are not allowed to simply ignore a patient's heathcare directives, those who do not agree with your wishes are required to state their opposition so that appropriate actions, such as seeking another provider, can be taken.

Colorado residents who have specific concerns and wishes regarding the type of medical care they are to receive if they become incapacitated, may want to consider filing formal advance medical directives. While some exceptions to following those directives do exist, for the most part, healthcare providers are required to comply with these wishes. If needed, assistance is available to devise a legal document that sets certain standards and expresses wishes for end-of-life medical treatment.

Source: FindLaw, "Health Care Directives: Is there a Duty to Follow Them?", , Sept. 8, 2014

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