Advance Directives BrochurePrintable PDF: Single or Duplex (For duplex, go to printer properties, make selections, i.e. 2-sided & flip pages)
You have the right to make all decisions about the health care you receive. If you do not want certain treatments, you have the right to tell your doctor, either orally or in writing, you do not want them. If you want to refuse treatment, but you do not have someone to name as your agent, you can sign a living will.
Most patients can express their wishes to their doctor, but some who are badly injured, unconscious or very ill and cannot. People need to know your wishes about health care in case you become unable to speak effectively for yourself. You can express your wishes in an advance directive.
In a living will, you tell your doctor that you do not want to receive certain treatment. In a health care power of attorney, you name an agent who will tell the doctor what treatment should or should not be provided.
The decision to sign an advance directive is very personal and very important. This pamphlet answers some frequently asked questions.
These documents will be followed only if you are unable, due to illness or injury, to make decisions for yourself. While you are pregnant, however, these documents will not cause life support to be withheld.
If you do not have an advance directive that tells what you want done, you do not know what decisions will be made or who will make them. Decisions may be made by certain relatives designated by South Carolina law (Adult Health Care Consent Act), by a person appointed by the court, or by the court itself. The best way to make sure your wishes are followed is to state your wishes in an advance directive. If you want to refuse treatment but you do not have someone to name as your agent, you can sign a living will.
If you have questions about signing an advance directive, you should talk to your doctor, minister, priest, rabbi, or other religious professional. Finally, it is very important that you discuss your feelings about life support with your family.
A health care power of attorney also should be discussed with the people you intend to name as your agent and alternate agents to make sure that they are willing to serve and know your wishes.
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