Making Medical Decisions
Many people today are concerned about such questions as:
- Can I expect or refuse medical treatment on the basis of my own values, preferences, and beliefs?
- Who will make medical decisions for me when I am not able to do so myself?
- Will my wishes for medical care at the end of my life be honored?
Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center believes that your medical care should reflect your wishes as much as possible. We are offering this information to help you begin to think about such medical decisions. We encourage you to discuss these decisions with your family, friends, clergy, and physician. You may want to write down your wishes as you think and talk about them.
What Does New Mexico Law Say?
As a competent adult, you have the right to direct your health care. You have the right to consent to the use or discontinuation of medical treatment.
As a competent adult, you may sign a New Mexico Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions form in which you appoint someone else to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.
As a competent adult, you may prepare a New Mexico Living Will and Declaration Under the Right to Die Act form which instructs your health care providers not to provide maintenance medical treatment in the event you are unable to speak for yourself and are either terminally ill or in an irreversible coma.
If you have not left prior instructions and are unable to speak for yourself, your health care providers and family usually will do what they think you want.
How May I Let My Wishes Be Known?
There are several ways to make your wishes known:
You may talk about your preferences regarding health care and life support with your family, friends, and physician.
You may sign a New Mexico Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions form to authorize someone of your own choosing to make health care decisions for you when you are not able to do so.
You may sign a New Mexico Living Will and Declaration Under the Right to Die Act if you have specific wishes regarding medical care at the end of your life.
How Can Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center Help?
When you are admitted to Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center, we will ask you if you have prepared the New Mexico Living Will and/or New Mexico Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions documents. If so, we will put that information in your medical record, and we will honor your wishes.
If you do not have either document and would like to learn more about them, or if you have questions about making medical decisions, contact your family physician or the legal counsel of your choice.
Medical Records and Registration have copies of New Mexico law for Advance Directives. They are available at your convenience. An on-line registry is available in both English and Spanish through the US Living Will Registry. Here you may print forms for Advanced Directives by state. Click here to get there now!