The Importance of Health Care Directives

Charleston Estate Planning | Health Care DirectivesOur Charleston estate planning lawyers believe that a clear understanding of health care directives is crucial for individual well-being and peace of mind should you one day be unable to make your own health care decisions. We believe all individuals should have the right to select or refuse their medical treatment, including surgical operations and life support, to protect against instances of medical battery. Unfortunately, incapacitated individuals who are unable to express their medical intentions may not receive their desired care without carefully drafted health care directives.

For more information, please see our pages on: Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney.

End of Life Decisions

The making of end of life decisions where there is no living will or adequate health care directive, such as a healthcare power of attorney, are guided by the provisions of the Adult Health Care Consent Act. The Act states in Section 44-66-50:

“Health care may be provided without consent to a patient who is unable to consent if no person authorized by Section 44-66-30 to make health care decisions for the patient is reasonably available and willing to make the decisions, and, in the reasonable medical judgment of the attending physician or other health care professional responsible for the care of the patient, the health care is necessary for the relief of suffering or restoration of bodily function or to preserve the life, health, or bodily integrity of the patient.”

In other words, this provision explains that the critically ill will receive life-prolonging treatment, no matter how expensive or invasive, without previously expressed health care directives. In many cases, the mandated life-prolonging treatment may go against personal, spousal and family wishes, but without health care directives, it is required by state law to be done. Thus our Charleston estate planning attorneys provide the legal representation to create health care directives to provide loved ones and families with flexibility and discretion in the event of difficult end of life decisions.