Patient Self-Determination Act

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Oklahoma Notice to Patients’ Required by the Patient Self-Determination Act

This notice informs you what rights Oklahoma law give to you to make medical care decisions. After reading this, you may still have questions. If so you should talk about them with your doctors and other care givers.

1. Who will talk to me about my medical care option?

Your doctor must talk about medical care options with you using words you can understand.

2. Who decides what medical care I get?

As a competent adult, you decide what medical care you will get. You have the right to accept, refuse, or stop any medical care, including life-sustaining treatment.

3. What if I am not able to make my own decisions?

If you cannot make decisions about your own medical care, someone must make them for you. An advance directive is the best way to tell people what you want done. You can also say who you want to make decisions for you, if you can no longer decide for yourself.

4. What is an advance directive?

An advance directive is a written document you sign before you are unable to make your own decisions. You can use an advance directive to tell people ahead of time what medical care you want. You can also

Name the person you want to make medical decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself.  Oklahoma law has three kinds of advance Directives:

     1. Living Will

     2. Health Care Proxy

     3. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

You can have one, two, or three advance directives.

5. What is a living will?

A living will is a document that allows you to state your choices about life-sustaining treatment.

6. What is a health care proxy?

A health care proxy is a person you name to make medical decisions for you, including decisions about life-sustaining treatment. You appoint someone to be your proxy with a written document in which you name them.

7. What is a durable power of attorney for health care?

A durable power of attorney for health care is a written document in which you name the person you want to make routine medical decisions for you. This person can also make decision about life-sustaining treatment if you expressly give the person that power. To give them this you must also name that person as your health care proxy. Oklahoma law requires a separate legal document made with the help of a lawyer.

8. May I refuse tube feeding?

You can be sure that you do not receive tube feedings (artificially administered water and food) by stating your wishes in writing in a living will. You can also do this by appointing a health care proxy to make such decisions for you. If you do not give express instructions, food and water can be withheld from you only in very limited situations.

9. Should I have an advance directive?

Whether to have an advance directive is entirely your decision. One reason many people want an advance directive is to avoid a legal dispute about their care if they become ill and can’t make their wishes known. Signing an advance directive, or at the very least talking about you medical care wishes with your loved ones, you doctors and others, makes sense before a medical crisis.

10. Do I need all three documents?

No. A living Will lets you tell others your wishes about life-sustaining treatment if you become terminally ill or persistently unconscious. A person you name in a health care proxy or a durable power of attorney can make decisions about life-sustaining treatment according to your wishes. That person can also make other treatment decisions for you if you are unable to do so. Because of this, you may want to sign a living will and either a health care proxy or a durable power of attorney.

11. If I sign an advance directive now, can I change my mind?

Yes. You can give new instructions by writing them down or telling someone. You can sign a new advance directive any time you want. In fact, you should go over your advance directive at least once a year to be sure it still correctly states your wishes.

12. Can I be sure my instructions will be followed?

If properly signed, your advance directive for health care is legally binding on your car givers. If they cannot follow your directions, they will arrange to transfer your care to others who will.

13. What if I do not have an advance directive?

Without an advance directive, a legal guardian, if appointed by the court, will make medical decisions for you. Without an advance directive or court-appointed legal guardian, Oklahoma law is not clear about who will decide for you. Usually, your family, doctors and hospital can agree about medical care.

14. What if I signed a “Directive to Physicians” under the old law?

If you signed a “Directive to Physician” under the old Oklahoma law, it is valid and binding under the new law. You may want to sign a new advance directive, however, because it covers more circumstances.

The new law also allows you to name the person you want to make your medical decisions. (The new law went into effect on Sept. 1, 1992)

15. What if I signed an advance directive in another State?

Advance directives signed in other States are valid and binding in this state for anything that Oklahoma law allows.

16. What if I have other questions?

If you do have other questions, you should discuss them with your doctors and other care givers.


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