I recently had a consultation regarding a patient who was flown to a local hospital from another state due to a medical emergency. She ended up in a coma as a result of a bleed on her brain. She did not have a Health Care Power of Attorney (“HCPOA”). Her family was desperate to help. Due to the coronavirus, the hospital was not allowing visitors. They were kept out of the hospital and not allowed to consult with the doctor or spend time with her while hospitalized.
Currently hospitals are not allowing visitors for patients, not even family members. The sick are not visited, the recovering cannot have family support, new mothers give birth alone and cannot even see the father of their child. Even worse, the terminally ill cannot receive comfort from those they love most in their final hours. Hospitals must block visitors in an effort to protect their staff and other patients. Doctors can only communicate with family members via phone or video chat, and only if they already have the contact information.
I have had other consultations with individuals whose family members are in medical facilities after accidents or other medical procedures. A patient without a proper HCPOA leaves the only option as a costly, lengthy, and invasive guardianship over the patient by a family member. This means a court battle, leaving the judge to decide who they think should be in charge.
An HCPOA has become more crucial during this Covid-19 stay-at-home orders. It directs medical staff and family members as to your wishes when you cannot express your desires yourself, such as if you are in a coma. It also names someone you trust to act as your health care agent. This HCPOA can help in this situation and allow a doctor or hospital to speak with family members to get instruction regarding medical options. The HCPOA is immensely important in this time of emergency, and you should ensure that you are doing all you can to get ready for every eventuality.
Contact our offices at (702) 766-5566 for a free half hour consultation to evaluate your options.