The following is provided to inform you of the Florida law regarding “Advanced Directives” or “Living Wills.” Under Florida law, every adult has the right to make certain decisions concerning his/her medical treatment. The law also allows for your rights and personal wishes to be respected even if you are too sick to make decisions yourself. You may spell out these rights in a “Living Will,” containing your personal directions about life-prolonging treatment in the case of serious illness that could cause death.
Additional Information on Advanced Directives
A living will is a statement of your wishes regarding the use of life-prolonging treatment if you are in a terminal condition. Usually this is a statement that you desire to be allowed to die and not be kept alive by medical treatment when your doctors conclude that you are no longer able to decide matters for yourself. If you would not want to be kept alive by use of feeding tube or other artificial means of providing food and water, specifically state this.
If you are too sick to make decisions, a close family member or a close friend usually will decide with the doctor and nurses what is best for you. And most of the time that works.
Sometimes everyone doesn’t agree about what to do, even if you have made a living will. One way to ensure that your wishes will be honored is to name someone you trust who will make medical decisions for you. You may name this person in a living will, in which case such person makes only those medical decisions related to serious illness that could cause death.
If you want to name someone you trust to make all other medical decisions for you when you are too sick to do so yourself, you may wish to put this in writing. Remember, if you want this person to also make decisions about the use of machines and medical treatment that might delay your death when you are hopelessly ill, name the same person in your living will. A replacement should also be named in case the person chosen becomes unable to make those decisions for you.