Does a Living Will Prevent My Doctors From Using a Ventilator to Treat COVID-19?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause severe respiratory problems requiring hospitalization and the use of a ventilator. Your Living Will does not prevent medical providers from using a ventilator, if needed.
New York living wills are written declarations instructing your family and doctor about life-prolonging medical procedures when you have a terminal illness, are in a persistent vegetative state, or are in the advanced stages of brain disease, such as Alzheimers and there is no chance of medical recovery.
Under constitutional and common law, patients have the right to refuse medical treatment. A living will gives you the opportunity to express your wishes in advance, since you may not be able to make them known when it becomes necessary to do so. You can specify that the only treatment rendered be for the relief of pain. Life-prolonging procedures include:
- the use of machines if you cannot breathe on your own, such as ventilators (unless there is a chance of recovery, such as with COVID-19).
- performing operations or prescribing antibiotics that cannot realistically increase the chances of recovery;
- starting your heart mechanically when it stopped beating; or
- feeding or hydration by tube.
You cannot use a Living Will to name a health care agent. You must also sign a Health Care Proxy to appoint a health care agent whom you trust to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
For further information on COVID-19 Estate Planning, click here: https://www.wny-lawyers.com/coronavirus-estate-planning/
Contact Friedman & Ranzenhofer PC attorneys seven days a week at (716) 542-5444 or by completing the Contact Form to have your Living Will and Health Care Proxy prepared.