WE ARE NOT LAWYERS. WE OFFER THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ONLY AS GUIDELINES. OUR INFORMATION IS BASED ON OUR OWN RESEARCH AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU CONSULT A LAWYER BEFORE YOU SIGN A POA.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
QUESTION HOSPITAL DOCTORS
In this period in North America, hospitals want to save money. Patients who have serious or chronic illnesses, or who have repeat inpatient stays, are an expense which reduces profits. We’ve all heard the phrase, “cut your losses”. Euthanasia is an effective way to do that. If you do not know the doctor, ask where he/she stands on “end of life” policies.
Have a Power of Attorney (POA) and/or Power of Attorney for Healthcare. (information/recommendations provided elsewhere on this website). The POA should state clearly what your life preserving requirements are. Your representative MUST be prepared to take immediate advocacy and legal action against hospital authorities if they refuse to follow your decisions. This includes: full treatment, continued life support, continuation of nutrition (food), hydration (water) and whether or not, and at what stage, you are to be given intravenous morphine or other pain medication. You should both be aware of and decide on all major treatment measures. Insist the doctor follow your decisions or those of your representative as outlined in your Power of Attorney document. Make sure your representative has contact information for your lawyer, including emergency numbers.
READ UP AND DO RESEARCH AHEAD OF TIME
Know what your rights are in regards to the hospital and hospital doctors. Find the probate codes for your state or province. Search for any other codes that govern patient rights in your jurisdiction.
FIND A LAWYER WHOM YOU CAN TRUST TO SUPPORT YOUR EFFORTS
Talk to the lawyer to determine if she/he understands your opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia and will defend your treatment requirements against the hospital should the hospital defy your POA. (If you do not have a lawyer, or yours does not agree with your treatment decisions or is not willing to challenge the hospital, then call the legal group that is listed as a referral on this website.) Interview potential lawyers - remember, they are going to be working for YOU.
FIND A BACK-UP HOSPITAL
If you live in a state where euthanasia is legal, find out which hospitals euthanize. Find out which doctors/hospitals withhold food and/or water, when they think treatment is “futile” or if they provide “comfort care”. Determine whether there is a hospital covered by your health plan that will provide the treatment that you and/or your loved one want.
In Canada, find out where your own doctor has hospital privileges. If it is a euthanizing hospital, have your doctor write “full care” in all your files and records. If you don’t have a regular doctor, find out which hospitals refuse to euthanize, and give your representative with Power of Attorney written instructions to take you to one of those hospitals when necessary.
Have your POA representative insist on full care. Advise your representative that he/she does not have to sign anything at the health facility regarding types of “end of life” so-called “treatment options”: he or she can make decisions as medical issues arise, in keeping with your wishes.
REFUSE ANY HOSPITAL OFFER OF ARBITRATION
If arbitration is offered by the hospital to resolve any dispute about your care, refuse it. Contact your (or your loved one’s) lawyer immediately, and if you are the POA representative, have the person moved to a medical facility which will follow your treatment instructions. Arbitration committees almost always rule in favor of the hospital and doctor.
These steps can help to save you or a loved one from involuntary euthanasia. And as the person with Power of Attorney you may avoid a lifetime of grief and anger, by being informed on how to save your loved one’s life.
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