Make your wishes known with a Health care proxy registry
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If you or someone you know have been in a hospital, you may have experienced or witnessed the range of treatments available in critical illness. As treatment preferences reflect a person's values, life experience, and religious beliefs, individuals may have different preferences regarding life sustaining medical procedures (such as the artificial ventilation, blood transfusions, feeding tubes, etc.) in different situations. However, your treatment wishes may not be incorporated into your care if you become unable to communicate this to your providers.
Advance Directives, including designating a health care proxy, play a critical role if this were to occur. A health care proxy is the person chosen to make health care decisions for you if you become too sick to make decisions for yourself, allowing you to retain control over your medical treatment. Designating a health care proxy and discussing your treatment preferences with them prior to a medical emergency not only allows your wishes to be carried out, but can also relieve a burden for your family members as they will not have to guess how you would have wanted to be cared for.
In New York, anyone can sign a Health Care Proxy Form designating their proxy and their proxy’s contact information without legal assistance (https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/1430.pdf but there are many barriers to making sure that this document reaches the hospital in an emergency.
In an emergency, hospitals need to know urgently whom to contact to discuss treatment preferences and provide consent for the care the individual would have wanted. A secure, online database that stores health care proxy information would allow healthcare providers to be able to find and contact individuals’ health care proxies anytime and anywhere. Though other states have established registries for health care proxies and other advance directives, New York Public Health Law has not established a central location for storing this important information.
Please support our cause to establish a New York Health Care Proxy Registry in order to better facilitate transmission of advance care plans to your medical team in case of emergency. Thank you!
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