Do we have any medical rights as next of kin?

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Latest post 06-19-2012 9:24 PM by Taxagent. 4 replies.
  • 06-19-2012 7:31 PM

    • Oilwifey
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 06-19-2012
    • TX
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    Do we have any medical rights as next of kin?

    My mother in law is currently in a sub acute nursing facility due to a tragic assault that left her in a vegatative state with no chance of recovery. She has remained in an unresponsive coma for almost 2 years needing a trach for swallowing & a feeding tube. My husband is the next of kin and we have been handling all of her financial/medical matters without having the POA or a conservatorship.  My question/dilemma is this: the family is in concensus to remove her from support as it has been confirmed by her doctors that she will never come about and will have no quality of life that what she has now. The doctor however is balking at the choice we have made to remove her from support. Does my husband have any legal authority to make this decision having the "next of kin" status? Or do we need to look into doing a "court appointed conservatorship" for medical decisions? Please help! Thank you.

  • 06-19-2012 8:25 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
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    Re: Do we have any medical rights as next of kin?

    Doctors may balk until there is some safe court appointed conserator to call the shots. Concensus does not equal "authority."

    BTW who is paying her bills?  If her bills are being paid ---hospital may not rush to pull said plug.



  • 06-19-2012 8:35 PM In reply to

    Re: Do we have any medical rights as next of kin?

    Oilwifey:
    My husband is the next of kin and we have been handling all of her financial/medical matters without having the POA or a conservatorship.

    NOW is the time to get that.  While it is unlikely care providers and those who need to be paid will balk at his non-legal handling of affairs as long as they get paid and he makes decisions they agree with he has no legal power to enforce anything until he gets guardianship and/or a POA.

    Oilwifey:
    Does my husband have any legal authority to make this decision having the "next of kin" status?

    It is best if he goes to court and gets appointed her legal guardian.  When it comes to decisions like the one he is making it is best if he has legal authority.  Most medical providers have no issue with "next of kin" when it is for supportive medical decisions.  When it comes to withdrawing care they prefer legal authority to prevent possible wrongful death suits from other family members.

    Oilwifey:
    The doctor however is balking at the choice we have made to remove her from support.

    The family cannot force the medical provider to go along with the plan.  Sadly this is exactly why it is highly recommended that everyone have an advance directive that spells out how much end of life care they want.  If she doesn't have this and the physician/care team won't support it your husband may have to get another doctor who is supportive of end of life decisions once he has legal authority to make them.  Best of luck to your family as this is NEVER an easy decision to make.

     

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 06-19-2012 8:40 PM In reply to

    Re: Do we have any medical rights as next of kin?

    Drew:
    BTW who is paying her bills?  If her bills are being paid ---hospital may not rush to pull said plug.

    WRONG.  I have been in the medical field for 27 years and have NEVER seen an facility decide to terminate care because no one is paying the bills.  In fact it is the opposite where far too often someone with no insurance and no family is kept on life support because there is no one to make the decsions.  To even suggest that ANY medical provider would end someone's life is beyond disgusting and you have absolutely NO clue what you are talking about.  Luckily for you, you won't get care providers like the ones you suggested existed in that statement.

    Drew:
    Concensus does not equal "authority."

    Actually in the medical field it can.  Specifcally when it comes to organ donation.  If the entire family does not agree they won't take the organs.  Medical providers prefer that the entire family agree on a plan of care when it comes to end of life decisions so that no one has guilt or regrets about what decisions are made.

    If you don't know the answers don't make them up.  Your half baked suggestions that aren't even close to fact or the question asked are tiresome.

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 06-19-2012 9:24 PM In reply to

    Re: Do we have any medical rights as next of kin?

    Oilwifey:
    Does my husband have any legal authority to make this decision having the "next of kin" status? Or do we need to look into doing a "court appointed conservatorship" for medical decisions?

    In most states only if he was granted a durable health care power of attorney by his mother before she was incompetent or he obtains a court appointed guardianship does he have any authority to really make these kinds of decisions for her. Doctors will balk at ending life support absent clear authority because of fear of legal problems, including lawsuits, if they act without getting proper authorization. That's generally a good thing, but it means your husband may need to go to court to get guardianship to achieve what the family wants. I suggest you folks see an elder law attorney in the area where this facility is located as he or she will be most familiar with the easiest and most cost effective way to go about resolving your issue.

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