law offices serving both
the Brainerd Lakes
& Little Falls Area
Ensure Your Wishes
When you can’t speak, it can be difficult to advocate for yourself. In medical situations, this could mean that you might receive care you don’t want—or, perhaps worse, care that could be detrimental to your recovery. There are legal documents you can draft up that will protect you and your interests should you be unable to speak for yourself. These documents are generally called Health Care Directives, and they describe the care you’d like in a legally binding way.
Because they are often subject to high-level legal review, Health Care Directives must be composed in a very specific manner. Not only should you avoid all “do-it-yourself” style online help tools, but you should enlist the assistance of an experienced and qualified attorney. At Mallie Law Office, not only do we give you access to that quality and experience, we approach your wishes with understanding and compassion. Composing a Health Care Directive can often be a difficult topic, and we’re sensitive to the emotions and intimacies of the process.
Why do I Need a Heath Care Directive?
Doctors are often trained to perform a task, and that task is to prolong life—usually for as long as possible. However, in some cases, the prolonging of life may also mean the prolonging of suffering. Medical professionals generally have both practical and humanitarian reasons for doing so: they want to see every patient get better, but they also do not want to be vulnerable to malpractice suits that might charge they did not do everything possible to save a given patient. As such, they generally err on the side of whatever course of action is most “life-saving.”
If this is not something you want to occur in your case, you will need a health care directive—and a legally robust healthcare direct at that—to avoid receiving prolonged care you did not want. These Health Care Directives usually take on several different forms:
- Do-Not-Resuscitate Order: This document ensures that, if you are ever in any kind of accident or go through any kind of trauma, emergency workers will not (to the degree that they are aware of your order) attempt to give you life-saving CPR or intervene in other ways. DNR orders can be filed either in a hospital setting or in a pre-hospital setting, so that it is on record with local paramedics and EMTs.
- Living Will: It may be that you have very specific ideas of what types of treatments you want to receive as you get older or your mental condition changes. In order to ensure you get precisely the kind of treatment you desire (no more and no less), a living will may be necessary. This document will set limits on the care you can receive.
- Power of Attorney for Health Care: In some cases, you may be unsure of what challenges you may face in the future. In these cases, it might be wise to pass on your power of attorney for health care decisions to specified individuals. Usually these are elected family members or close friends who you trust to make decisions in your best interests. In the absence of this document, power of attorney would be determined by the state.
Protecting Your Needs and Desires in the Long Run
It might not always be the most pleasant conversation, but it’s important to make your living will or DNR wishes well known to your family members. Composing a legally-binding order or living will certainly helps to do that. Those who need to be informed of such a document will certainly be informed (for example, the person you designate for power of attorney). It’s also important to keep in mind that these documents are designed to protect your personal and individual desires during an injury, trauma, or during end-of-life care.
That means that you are the primary driver of decisions. You should create directives that you think are right for you—and not for anyone else. And while there are many factors to consider, the most important one is how you feel going forward. Many of our Brainerd and Little Falls, MN Heath Care Directive clients report feeling content and relieved once all their paper work is finished—but they also report having a certain peace of mind in the fact that they will get the care they desire.
In order to ensure your Heath Care Directives are honored and followed, contact the attorneys at Mallie Law Office. We can help ensure your orders are legally sound and robust.