Four Powerful Rights That Your Health Care Agent Has

13 April 2015
 Categories: Law, Blog


You probably know that the person who has your health care power of attorney is expected to handle your medical decisions if you become incapable of making them. This may be true, but making these decisions may involve some controversial moves. This is why the health care agent has some powerful rights. Some of these rights include:

Having Visitation Rights

There are times when doctors restrict patient visitations. This may be done to limit the transfer of germs from patient to visitors (or the other way round), give the patient physical rest or reduce the patient's level of stress. During such times, the doctor may limit your visitors to one or two people, and your health care agent is likely to be one of them

Accessing Your Medical Records

Medical records are some of the most private and confidential documents. Releasing medical records to third parties is a clear breach of contract, one that can even land a physician in court. It is clear, however, that your health care agent needs to access all your medical records to help him or her in making your health decisions. Therefore, if there is some medical condition that you want to hide from people, ensure that your agent isn't one of those people.

Enforcing Your Health Care Wishes

If you have some controversial directives concerning your health care, then other people may not wish to see them enforced. For example, your spouse or children may not wish to "pull the plug" even if you remain in a coma for a long time. Another example is when your doctor refuses some experimental treatment due to its small probability of success. However, if that is what you want, then it is what you should get. Your health care agent has the power to go to court and have your wishes enforced despite the objections of other people.

Hiring and Firing Your Medical Personnel

Finally, you should also know that the agent has the power to hire and fire your doctors, nurses, and physiotherapist or even choose the hospitals to care for you. He or she has to do this with your directives or guidelines in mind. In the absence of such directives, he or she is allowed to use his or her best judgment to execute what you would have done in the same situation.

As you can see, a durable power of attorney for health is a powerful position. This means you should carefully choose the individual or individuals to act as your agent/agents. You also need to do it the legal way so that nobody overturns the agent's authority when you require his or her services. For more information, contact Ivy Law Group PLLC or a similar firm.