Who in a family gets appointed tomake the decision on ending life support?

My mother had a terrible fall last week, she has a brain injury which was caused by bleeding. I spoke to a doctor who stated she was very critical. It changed to stable and today she has more blood flowing normally to the brain. My older brother has decided that they will go through with “pulling the plug” tomorrow and that my opinion doesn’t matter. My older sister and I spoke to a doctor and expressed our feelings that we do not agree that he should be making these decisions, because he has a history of being cruel to her. There is no Power of Attorney or Advance Directive. It may now be in the hands of “Ethic Committee” What can we do?

Asked on September 19, 2010 under Estate Planning, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your mother.  You and your sister should inform the Ethics Committee that since there is no Power of Attorney or Advance Directive, that your brother does NOT have the authority to make that decision.  Tell the Ethics Committee to hold off on its decision until there is an Advance Directive or comparable hospital forms have been completed regarding decisions on your mother's medical treatment.  The hospital may have some forms for an Advance Directive or comparable forms regarding decisions on your mother's medical treatment that you and/or your sister can complete.  Those forms may also allow you to exclude your brother from being provided with information about your mother's condition without your consent.

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