Living Wills are supposed to protect our wishes in the event that you are unable to respond or react in a health emergency. Unfortunately, that may not be enough in an ER situation, if the nurses and doctors are unaware of the laws.

When is a Living Will in Effect?

A Living Will is a document that assists healthcare providers with personalizing your care to your wishes when you are unable to convey them as same relates to life sustaining treatment. This document becomes effective when you are unable to make your own decisions, and when your doctor confirms you have a terminal condition with no hope of recovery. A Living Will does not matter before those conditions are met. Once those conditions are in place, it serves as evidence of your wishes.

Medical Professionals and Living Wills

According to Kaiser Health News, doctors and nurses don’t receive a lot of training in what a Living Will means for a patient. In an online survey, only 43% of doctors would try to save a patient who goes into cardiac arrest whose Living Will says not to resuscitate in the event of a terminal illness. A Living Will is supposed to allow medical professionals to translate your wishes into your care. But the first step to that is having a healthcare staff that can understand that a Living Will is not the same as a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order.

Living Wills in the ER

The ER is a fast-paced environment, where patients need emergency care and doctors jump in when needed. If you go to an emergency room, having someone with you that is familiar with your Living Will can be helpful in notifying your doctors that you have one.

Failure to Abide By a Living Will

If a doctor or other medical professional is made aware of, or should have been made of, your Living Will and does not abide by it to the best of their ability; this can be considered medical malpractice.

For more than 40 years, our firm has been assisting people like you with long term care and estate planning needs. We bring you the knowledge and resources to protect you and your family. Armstrong & Lamberti, PLLC do not provide tax, legal, medical, or accounting advice by articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. Call 718.477.7700 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with an estate planning attorney at Armstrong & Lamberti, PLLC. We proudly serve Staten Island, Brooklyn and the other boroughs of New York City.