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Advance Health Care Directives 101

How To Choose A Doctor Who Will Comply With Your Wishes

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One of the critical elements when choosing a doctor is to be sure he or she agrees with your wishes about what you want done if you become incapacitated and can't speak for yourself. In fact, it would be helpful to discuss your wishes with your doctor before you write a Living Will, Healthcare Power of Attorney and/or DNR to get his or her input about:

  • Situations you may face because of your health condition and related life support systems.
  • Clinical terms that may help make a Living Will more effective, and discussions with a Healthcare Proxy more fruitful.

If the doctor doesn't agree with your beliefs, the question becomes whether he or she will agree to nonetheless carry them out. If the answer is "no" - find another doctor.

Likewise, if the only hospital the doctor can work in (has "privileges" in) has a policy of continuing life no matter what - either find another doctor or get your doctor's agreement that if something happens to you, you will be sent to a hospital that will follow your wishes - even if it means that doctor cannot attend to you in that hospital.

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Be sure to give the doctor a copy of each of your Advance Directives and ask that they be kept in your medical record. Also give a copy to each specialist you see.

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