Patients who are capable of making their own health care decisions have the right to consent to, to reject and to withdraw consent for medical procedures, treatments, or interventions. They may say yes, no, or “I will think about it.” For patients who are incapable, someone else must make decisions for them.
For many patients, this possible loss of control is a concern. Should they try to designate someone else to speak for them? How do they protect and effectively transfer their right to choose to a person whom they know will speak their mind and heart? Those concerns can be addressed by signing an advance directive – a document that sets out guidelines for your future care. The two most common types of advance directives are the durable power of attorney for health care and the living will.
You have the right to have either or both document(s) as long as you are capable of making decisions for yourself. Once you are incapable of making your own decisions, you lose the opportunity to choose someone to speak for you or make your wishes known about future health care decisions. For that reason, durable powers of attorney for health care and living wills are like fire insurance – you must arrange it before the fire. If you become incapable of making your own decisions, the health care decisions made for you may not be those you would choose for yourself.
This information is based on South Dakota law and is designed to inform, not to advise. No person should ever apply or interpret any law without the aid of an attorney who knows the facts and may be aware of any changes in the law. This information was compiled by the South Dakota State Medical Association, the South Dakota Hospital Association, and the State Bar of South Dakota.
The Endoscopy Center, Inc. Policy on Advance Directives
“The Endoscopy Center, Inc. is a licensed ambulatory surgery center providing endoscopic services to those patients suitable for outpatient procedures. All efforts while caring for a patient will be to maintain the health status of the individual with a focus on detection, prevention and treatment of various GI disorders. Therefore, the physicians and staff providing care in The Endoscopy Center will, in every case, support those patients requiring cardio-pulmonary resuscitation until such time as an ambulance team, if needed, will take direct care of the patient and the patient is transported to a higher level of care.”