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Canton Estate Planning & Probate Lawyer > Blog > Advanced Directive > When Can a Healthcare Provider Refuse To Follow Your Advanced Directive?

When Can a Healthcare Provider Refuse To Follow Your Advanced Directive?


There could be a time in your life when you need to make serious medical decisions but are incapacitated for one reason or another and, as a result, are unable to make those decisions on your own. If you preplanned for unforeseen future events that could affect your health, you likely have an advanced directive. Advanced directives guide medical professionals on how to care for a patient and what treatment to administer when the patient cannot provide instructions themselves.

Advanced directives are a big part of end-of-life planning. You may never need to use an advanced directive, but having one is a good idea in case something unexpected happens where you cannot communicate on your own. This can be done either through your living will or your durable power of attorney for healthcare or both. A living will can indicate what decisions you would make about your medical treatment in certain situations. Your durable power of attorney for healthcare is a person that you choose who will be your healthcare proxy and handle healthcare decisions on your behalf.

For more information on advanced directives and end-of-life planning in Connecticut, please call the Law Office of Brian S. Karpe to speak with a Canton advanced directive lawyer.

Situations Where Your Advanced Directive May Not Apply 

Without an advanced directive, the decisions about your healthcare are out of your hands if you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to speak on your own and advocate for the medical treatment you want. Typically, in this situation, the state will come in and determine who will be able to make your healthcare decisions. The individual that is chosen may or may not be someone who you would have wanted to take on this critical role.

With an advanced directive, though, you will have a legally recognized document that your healthcare provider and your proxy, if you have one, will try to adhere to. These individuals will use your advanced directive to ensure that your wishes are respected and followed.

However, because an advanced directive is not legally binding, it is not absolute. This means that under certain circumstances, despite having an advanced directive in place, a healthcare professional may not follow it.

Perhaps you fall victim to some type of complex medical condition where your advanced directive doesn’t clearly define what to do. Then, while a healthcare professional may try to follow your instructions, they may not do so precisely as you want because they are doing so to the best of their ability.

Or, a healthcare professional may completely disregard your advanced directive because of any of the following reasons:

  • Your wishes contradict the healthcare provider’s conscience.
  • Your wishes do not adhere to the policies of the healthcare institution where you are being treated.
  • Your wishes go against accepted healthcare standards.

If any of the above happens, your healthcare proxy may be able to change providers and healthcare institutions to better meet your wishes.

Speak to a Connecticut Advanced Directive Attorney Today 

There could be instances where your advanced directive may not be followed, but for the most part, there are many situations where it will be used. Having an advanced directive in place protects you and respects your wishes when you cannot communicate your healthcare decisions.

To establish your advanced directive, please call our Connecticut advanced directive attorney at the Law Office of Brian S. Karpe at 860-217-1458 to schedule a free consultation.

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