Some health care incapacity legal documents can be confusing because the names are often used interchangeably, such as living will, advanced health care directive, and health care power of attorney. This article focuses on Oregon's laws regarding durable power of attorney documents.
Health Care Power of Attorneys
A health care powers of attorney designates an agent to speak on your behalf and make health care decisions for you when you can’t make then. Often, a living with and power of attorney are two components of medical planning that are created in one document. Sometimes this is called an “advance directive for health care.” Oregon permits living wills and health care power of attorneys under the Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives for Health Care law. Oregon law also permits power of attorneys for financial matters like paying your bills when you become incapacitated.
In addition, Oregon maintains a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) registry that is like a Do Not Resuscitate form that’s ordered by your doctor informing other medical providers of your request not to have CPR or artificial hydration, etc., although pain medication can still be provided as needed. A POLST is separate from a living will or advance directive and many people choose to create both.
|Code Sections||Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 127 - Powers of Attorney, Advance Directives for Health Care, POLST Registry, etc.|
|Specific Powers for Agent and Life-Prolonging Acts||Your agent can make decisions for medical care including life-prolonging acts for you that don’t conflict with any other directions you made in the advance directive.
Oregon law defines “life-sustaining acts” as the mechanical or other artificial means to sustain, restore, or supplant a vital function that is used to maintain life of a person suffering from a terminal condition and serves only to prolong artificially the moment of death. However, this doesn’t include procedures to sustain patient cleanliness and comfort.
|If Physician Unwilling to Follow Patient’s Requests||The doctor must notify any health care representative of his or her inability to comply with the patient’s wishes, discharge the patient without abandoning him or her, or make a reasonable effort to locate and transfer the patient to a willing physician.|
|Immunity for Attending Physician||The attending physician isn’t liable in civil or criminal court or in a professional disciplinary action, if he or she acted in good faith on a fully executed health care directive.|
Many people are uncomfortable considering terrible things, like a catastrophic car accident that induces a coma, happening to them. However, planning ahead is key to getting the medical care you want and leaving your possessions to your loved ones. If it’s time to make a durable power of attorney, you should considering speaking to an experienced Oregon estate planning lawyer.
Note: State laws change frequently, because of this, you should contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify these laws, especially if you plan to create end-of-life planning documents.
Research the Law
Contact a qualified attorney.