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Does a elderly hospitalized patient in her upper years have any rights concerning her wishes.

Chicago, IL |

Refereed to Dhs by Dr., state contacted,case in process, HC.P.O.A excluded from information-all levels, trust estate-living will - HC.P.O.A - no financial resources, unable to access benefit of the legal system, David versus Goliath situation, does a doctor or medical institution have the right to condemn a patient against her wishes? Does her voice not count verbally or documented?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Your shorthand makes your question very difficult to understand. One thing is for certain. Doctors and health care institutions do not condemn people.

    Please rewrite your question.


  2. All patients have the right of self determination over their care subject to societal limitations such as regarding suicide and narcotics. A patient who has sufficient capacity to form and communicate wishes can choose to access or refuse care. A patient who lacks sufficient capacity requires a surrogate decision maker through either court appointed guardian or health care advance directive executed while having capacity.

    Lawrence Friedman, Bridgewater, NJ. Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the ABA approved National Elder Law Foundation, former Chair NJ State Bar Association Elder and Disabilities Law Section, Member Board of Consultors of NJSBA Real Property, Trusts & Estates Law Section, Vice Chair Special Needs Law Section of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and Master of Laws (L.L.M.) in Taxation from N.Y.U. School of Law. Visit SpecialNeedsNJ.com for articles and Q&A on elder law, special needs, wills, trusts, estates, and tax and SpecialNeedsNJ.com/blog for timely updates. Information on both Avvo and SpecialNeedsNJ.com does not constitute legal advice, as it is general in nature and may not apply to your situation or be subject to important changes. No attorney client relationship exists unless set forth in written engagement terms.


  3. There are many, many good resources in Chicago--too numerous to mention. There is the Office of State Guardian as a place to start--I agree that the question posted here is difficult to understand--is the effort being made on behalf of the disabled person or the person with POA?

    The doctor or medical institution has to defer to the determination of the adult disabled person's best interests. A Guardian ad Litem is appointed on behalf of the disabled person and speaks for her needs. As the case appears to be pending, it may be too soon to tell what the outcome will be.

    The information provided here should not be construed to be formal legal advice. The provision of this general advice does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Persons with legal questions are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

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