In New York State, doctors are required to sustain life in the event of a life threatening injury or accident if the individual has not designated a health care proxy. What this means is that, in the event of a serious accident or injury, doctors are required by law to keep you on life support until you die or your organs fail- unless you have appointed a health care proxy to speak on your behalf.
The New York Public Health Law allows you to appoint someone you trust, such as a family member or close friend, to make health care decisions for you in the event that you lose the ability to make decisions yourself.
When you appoint a health care proxy, you ensure that health care providers – such as doctors, nurses or hospitals – follow your wishes in the event you are incapable of communicating them yourself. You can decide to give your health care proxy as little or as much authority as you want. Doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers must follow your health care proxy’s decisions as if they were your own.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I choose a health care agent?
Health care providers will look to family members for guidance in the event a person were to become unable to make health care decisions for themselves. Appointing an agent allows you to control your medical treatment and decide who you want to speak for you on medical decisions.
What should I consider when I choose my health care agent?
You should choose a health care agent who you trust to speak for you and make decisions for you when you are unable to. Once you choose your agent, it is very important that you share your wishes and opinions about your preferred health care treatment.
How do I appoint a health care agent?
To designate your health care agent, call us or fill out our form to schedule a consultation with our specialists today.
Who can be a health care agent?
Anyone 18 years of age or older can be a health care agent. The person you are appointing to speak as your agent cannot sign as a witness on your Health Care Proxy form.
When would my health care agent begin to make health care decisions for me?
When your doctor decides that you are not able to make your own health care decisions, your health care agent would then begin to make health care decisions for you. As long as you are able to make health care decisions for yourself, you will have the right to do so.
What if I change my mind?
It is easy to cancel your Health Care Proxy or to change the person you have chosen as your health
care agent. You can simply fill out a new form designating your new health care proxy.