Health Care Advance Directives - The Patient’s Right to Decide

Every competent adult has the right to make decisions concerning his or her own health, including the right to choose or refuse medical treatment.
When a person becomes unable to make decisions due to a physical or mental change, such as being in a coma or developing dementia (like Alzheimer’s disease), they are considered incapacitated. To make sure that an incapacitated person’s decisions about health care will still be respected, the Florida legislature enacted legislation pertaining to health care advance directives (Chapter 765, Florida Statutes).
The law recognizes the right of a competent adult to make an advance directive instructing his or her physician to provide, withhold, or withdraw life-prolonging procedures; to designate another individual to make treatment decisions if the person becomes unable to make his or her own decisions; and/or to indicate the desire to make an anatomical donation after death.

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Introduction to Your Florida Advance Directive

This packet contains the Advance Directive for Healthcare which protects your right to refuse medical treatment you do not want or to request treatment you do want in the event you lose the ability to make decisions yourself.

1. The Florida Designation of Healthcare Surrogate lets you name someone to make decisions about your medical care including decisions about life support if you can no longer speak for yourself. The Designation of Healthcare Surrogate is especially useful because it appoints someone to speak for you any time you are unable to make your own medical decisions, not only at the end of life.

2. The Florida Living Will lets you state your wishes about medical care in the event that you have an end-stage condition, become persistently vegetative, or develop a terminal condition and can no longer make your own medical decisions. A second doctor must agree with your attending physician’s opinion of your medical condition.

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Note: These documents will be legally binding only if the person completing them is a competent adult (at least 18 years old).

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