Healthcare Power of Attorney for Covid-19 Virus Patients?
You are sick, possibly with the Covid-19 virus, too sick to mentally deal with the decisions that need to be made with respect to your healthcare. What happens? Who makes these decisions for you?
A Power of Attorney for Health is a legal document that allows you to express your end of life, health care wishes ahead of time.
In an ideal world, anyone over the age of 18 should have this document in place. With the Covid-19 virus pandemic, the necessity of this legal document is even more evident.
For some that are higher risk, older in age, or have medical ailments, staying at home in quarantine, washing hands frequently and taking precautions when shopping for essentials is ideal, but what most people fail to realize is that the most important part of their safety plan is missing – medical decisions. Very little thought is being placed on a master medical plan. Don’t leave anything to chance and certainly. Don’t leave the burden of making difficult decisions on family members when it comes to Covid-19 virus.
The need for these instructions is even more evident with the progression of this Covid-19 virus. Based on recent reports from various hospitals across the United States, doctors are considering universal do-not-resuscitate orders for Covid-19 virus patients.
WHAT IS A UNIVERSAL DO NOT RESUSCITATE ORDER?
Medical professionals are concerned about the risk of staff to revive a code “blue” Covid-19 virus patient. The risk is too great to justify the conventional response that staff normally give when a patient goes into cardiac arrest or stops breathing. Medical professionals must rush to the patient (sometimes as many as 15 or so) and do what is necessary to revive the patient, which may include procedures that send Covid-19 virus laced droplets from the patient all over the room putting the medical staff at risk.
This is extremely dangerous in terms of infection risk because it involves multiple bodily fluids. Hospitals are having these conversations following declines in protective equipment—such as masks, gloves, and gowns. Furthermore, bioethicists argue that by the time medical professionals put on protective gear and implement protective resuscitation measures, the chances of reviving the patient dwindle as a result of the delays.
IS BLANKET DNR FOR COVID-19 PATIENTS LEGALLY POSSIBLE?
At this time California legislature has not ALLOWED any medical professional or facility to make end of life decisions on your behalf. This is a right that belongs to you.
The media is merely reporting on discussions that these facilities are having. A physician’s primary goal and ethical oath requires them to do everything possible to save the life of their patient. Unless of course the patient has signed a do not resuscitate themselves or they have consent from family. Without a definite change in California law, they will not be able to enforce blanket do not resuscitate orders for Covid-19 virus patients.
Here is a link to the ethical framework for covid-19 being analysed.
WHAT IS THE TAKE AWAY FROM ALL OF THIS?
Make sure your wishes are on legally binding documents. If you do not decide, others may decide for you and it may not be your wish.