Texas Directive to Physicians
A Texas Directive to Physicians is a document that provides a person’s end-of-life decisions. It is typically prepared by a Texas estate planning attorney. Additionally, it can be called different things, such as a living will – not to be confused with the last will and testament which covers the distribution of one’s estate upon his/her death. Further, the Texas Directive to Physicians obviously does not apply unless the person signing the directive is unable to make his/her own health care decisions.
The Texas Directive to Physicians covers two basic conditions. The first condition is the terminal condition. A terminal condition is an incurable condition caused by injury, disease, or illness that according to reasonable medical judgment will produce death within six months, even with available life-sustaining treatment provided in accordance with the prevailing standard of medical care. A good example of a terminal condition is late-stage cancer.
The second condition is the irreversible condition. An irreversible condition is a condition, injury, or illness that (i) that may be treated, but is never cured or eliminated; (ii) that leaves a person unable to care for or make decisions for the person’s own self; and (iii) that, without life-sustaining treatment provided in accordance with the prevailing standard of medical care, is fatal. A good example of an irreversible condition is a motorcycle accident without wearing a helmet. Obviously, considerable overlap exists between the terminal condition and the irreversible condition.
The Texas estate planning attorney will usually provide the two choices for the person signing the Texas Directive to Physicians to choose, and the two choices apply to both types of conditions. In the first option, the patient requests that all treatments other than those needed to keep the patient comfortable be discontinued or withheld and for the patient to be allowed to pass gently. In other words, life-sustaining treatment would be withdrawn, but pain medications would be allowed to keep the patient comfortable.
In the second option that often appears in the Texas Directive to Physicians prepared by an attorney, the patient requests that s/he be kept alive in the terminal or irreversible condition using available life-sustaining treatment. The person signing the document may choose the first option for a terminal condition and the second option for the irreversible condition, or vice versa. Also, it is important to remember that the only right answer is the answer with which the person signing the Texas Directive to Physicians is comfortable. No wrong answer exists.
Many Texas Directive to Physicians prepared by a Texas estate planning attorney also allow the person signing the document to make special provisions. Special provisions often include the types of care a person would want in either a terminal or irreversible condition. A person may desire for antibiotics to not be used but other life-sustaining treatment continue. Or, perhaps a person has a special pain management program s/he would like used.
The Texas Directive to Physicians is usually prepared by a Texas estate planning attorney during a person’s estate planning process. When considering estate planning services, one would be advised to seek an attorney to prepare the documents.
The Law Office of Robert Newton, PC is a law firm located in Frisco, Texas, that practices in the area of estate planning, real estate, and business. Please feel free to contact the firm for a consultation. The above information was provided for information purposes only and not as legal advice.