Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law
Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo  Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo
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Knowing when providers may refuse to follow advance directives

As you watch your family members and friends in Woodland Hills begin to deal with the effects of advancing age, you may quickly understand why many often sour on the idea of continued care. Oftentimes, such care can involve treatments that are painful or leave a patient feeling ill or drained of energy. Oftentimes, people may come to us here at The Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo wanting to set up advanced directives meant to limit care that could prolong their lives. Most automatically assume that any healthcare provider must comply with these wishes. Yet is that always the case?

Section 4733 of the California Probate Code states that, in most cases, clinicians must comply with any health care instructions given by your family member or friend (or you or another person granted authority to make such decisions on his or her behalf). However, the law also allows for special circumstances where a provider can refuse to follow such instructions. These include:

  •          Cases conflicting with his or her own sense of conscience
  •          Situations where a decision is contrary to facility policies that are based off reasons of conscience (such policies must first be communicated to you or your loved one)
  •          Instructions asking for ineffective medical care or care that runs contrary to generally accepted treatment standards

A provider in this case must inform you or your loved one of the decision to not comply with his or her medical instructions. If it is his or hers (or yours) decision to continue to refuse treatment, the provider must arrange a transfer to a facility that will follow your family member or friend’s instructions.

More information about arranging end-of-life care can be found on here on our site. 

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