Is there a way to make sure a hospital/doctor can’t deny after the fact that they knew of my Advance Directive before giving emergency treatment?

I understand that a doctor does not need consent to do surgery on an unconscious patient after an accident for instance. When I did some research, I found that, according to a specific limitation to the ‘Emergency Exception’, “no treatment can be given if the doctor knows or has reason to know” that I have executed an Advance Directive. Does this apply to any emergency treatment, and is there a way to ensure the hospital can’t deny later on that they knew of my Advance Directive?

Asked on November 1, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The only way to possibly safeguard your desires about the advanced medical directive that you are wriitng about is to have your attorney in fact have it in hand in the event that you are hospitalized and to give it to the medical office or hospital.

The other option is to have the directive on file with all hospitals in your surrounding area where you live. The problem is that the directive that you seem to want as to no medical treatment for an emergency would not be honored by any health care facility in that the request violates public policy.

The advanced directive dealing with not prolonging life is recognized when a treating physician is of the opinion that the person can only survive with life support. Emergency treatment is a different matter.


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