Medical Ethics Resources

Three Important Steps in Protecting Yourself and Your Will

1. Complete our Recommended Health Care Power of AttorneyDocument.  This is the most important step in ensuring your rights are protected.  This document is absolutely essential for anyone who is 18 years or older.  To be certain that a person you trust will be making medical decision for your if you become incapacitated by an injury or an illness, you must have specifically named that person in a legal document.  We recommend Louisiana's current Health Care Power of Attorney document which you can down load by clicking here.  Or by going to the Louisiana's Office of Elderly Affairs website: http://goea.louisiana.gov/assets/docs/LouisianaHCPOA.pdf

2.  Understand the Purpose but Limitations of Advanced Directives.  End of Life Planning can seem like a very wise decision.  However, some living wills can be very dangerous.  A Living Will can easily give authority to someone, such as a physician or a judge, the power to decipher your wishes.  If someone does not share your moral and ethical values, they may be tempted to use your directive to unnecessarily end your life.  Laws governing Living Wills permit the withholding or withdrawal of ordinary treatment and care, including food and fluids, even when the omission will be the direct cause of death.  Thus these documents can be used to license euthanasia.

If however you feel strongly that you would like to have an Advanced Directive, we suggest our Will to Live Document.  This document complies with the laws of Louisiana and ensures that no one has been given the authority to approve of the direct and intentional ending of your life.  This document will protect you and also your agent serving as power of attorney from being subjected to pressure to authorize such actions.  You can find this document by clicking here and going to the section for the state of Louisiana.  You may also be able to download it directly from our website

3.  Understand and Be Familiar with LaPOST
Since 2009, physicians have been required to discuss end-of-life planning with patients when they enter into the Medicare Program.  Encouraging people to forgo medical treatment is often times that main reason why health care professionals initiate conversations about end of life planning.  Recently admission packets in Louisiana began including LaPOST forms for all nursing home residents as well as new patients of hospitals.  We do feel comfortable with the language of the Louisiana Physicians Orders for Scope of Treatment form.  However, our opinion is that forms always have limitations because of their need for interpretation. Forms such as LaPOST should only be used as a resource for someone who has an intimate knowledge of your will and values and who you have legally chosen to speak as your health care proxy.

You can become familiar with the LaPOST form by clicking here to download the document.  

If you have any questions or would like more clarification on these issues, please contact Ryan Verret at rverret@prolifelouisiana.org