What is a healthcare surrogate?

A healthcare surrogate, sometimes called an “agent”, is a person appointed by you to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are not able to make or communicate them yourself. The healthcare surrogate is one form of an advance health care directive, a statement of your wishes in case you are not able to express them. Advance healthcare directives, including the healthcare surrogate, are governed by state laws so it may be wise to consult a local attorney if you have any questions. The law recognizes the right of every competent adult to make his or her own decisions about healthcare matters; this includes the right to refuse medical treatment when it is no longer wanted. As long as a person is alive, competent and able to communicate their wishes, they have the sole power to continue or stop medical treatment.  Unfortunately, there are cases in which the ill or injured person is not able to make decisions or to...
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