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What Are The Responsibilities Of A Healthcare Surrogate?

Healthcare Surrogate

If there is one thing that we can’t guarantee in life, it’s everlasting health and youth. At some point in most people’s lives, age will catch up with our lifestyle and the spring in our step will be significantly less bouncy.

In these circumstances, having a healthcare surrogate is a great advantage. Ensuring that you have a healthcare surrogate in Florida is one way to make sure that your health is a top concern, even if you aren’t able to prioritize it yourself.

What Is A Healthcare Surrogate?

Understanding the role of a healthcare surrogate is important for making the decision yourself. Essentially, a healthcare surrogate is an adult who has been entrusted to make healthcare decisions on an individual’s behalf once the individual is unable to make the decision themselves.

Florida statute dictates that once a patient is no longer able to give informed consent about decisions pertaining to their health, they are considered incapacitated. This can refer to either physical or mental incapacitation. It is at this point that a health care surrogate will take over the responsibility of making these medically-related decisions.

How Does a Healthcare Surrogate Differ From A Medical Power Of Attorney?

The role of healthcare surrogate is often interchanged with that of a medical power of attorney; however, they do differ slightly. While the medical power of attorney is also responsible for making healthcare decisions on behalf of an individual, these decisions are specified in advance when an individual chooses who they want to fit the role.

A healthcare surrogate is appointed to make these decisions once an individual has become incapacitated, but the individual does not have a say in who this individual will be. Instead, a physician will appoint someone to fill the role. This anonymity can be avoided if you choose to appoint a medical power of attorney, and the appointed person is still fit to serve when the time comes.

The Responsibilities Of A Healthcare Surrogate

The designation of a healthcare surrogate is a written document that is signed by the parties involved, as well as witnesses. In most instances, an alternative surrogate is provided in case the primary choice is unable to fulfill their responsibilities.

Once a physician appoints a healthcare surrogate, various responsibilities will be handed over. The responsibilities include, but are not limited to, decisions pertaining to the following:

  • Organ donation,
  • Surgical and medical treatments,
  • Any treatment that is life-prolonging,
  • Selection of medical treatments,
  • End-of-life procedures,
  • Approving the release of medical records,
  • Psychiatric treatment,
  • Communication with loved ones regarding the choice of medical treatment.

In most instances, the physician will make a responsible effort to appoint a family member or loved one to fill this role. These individuals could include a spouse, adult children, parents, adult siblings, adult grandchildren or close friends.

It is the responsibility of the healthcare surrogate to make decisions in accordance with your wishes, beliefs, and morals. If these wishes are unknown, then decisions should be made in line with your best interest.

Final Thoughts

Putting your life, quite literally, into someone else’s hands is a big decision to make. It is a decision that requires legal counsel from a qualified legal advisor that specializes in estate planning.

Preempting who you wish to fill the role of your healthcare surrogate is a cornerstone in the drafting of your living will. Confirming this medical power of attorney in advance will give you peace of mind to let nature age you as it wishes, knowing that your health is in trusted hands. Call us at 1-877-815-4560 for legal services you can count on… since 1969.

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Law Offices of
Gary I. Handin, P.A.

Providing professional legal services for the city of Coral Springs. Contact us today for a free consultation – 954-796-9600.

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