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Bay Medical recognizes that Florida and federal law gives every competent adult, 18 years or older, the right to make his or her own healthcare decisions, including the right to decide what medical treatment to accept, reject or discontinue. If you do not want to receive certain types of treatment or you wish to name someone to make healthcare decisions for you, you have the right to make these desires known to your doctor, hospital or other healthcare providers. You also have the right to be told about the nature of your illness in terms that you can understand, the general nature of the proposed treatments and procedures that may be available to you.

However, there may be times when you cannot make your wishes known to your doctor or other healthcare providers. For example, if you were taken to a hospital in a coma, would you want the hospital’s medical staff to know your specific wishes regarding the medical care you want or do not want to receive?

What are “Advance Directives?”
Advance Directives are documents which state your choices about medical treatment or name someone to make decisions about your medical treatment if you are unable to make these decisions yourself. They are called “Advance Directives” because they are signed in advance to let your doctor and other healthcare providers know your wishes concerning medical treatment. Through Advance Directives, you can make legally valid decisions about your future medical care. Florida Law recognizes several types of Advance Directives: (1) A Living Will Declaration (2) A Healthcare Surrogate Designation and (3) An Anatomical Donation.

What is a “Living Will Declaration?”
A Living Will is a document which tells your doctor or other healthcare providers whether or not you want life-prolonging treatments or procedures administered to you if you are in a terminal condition, a persistent vegetative state or an end-stage condition. It is called a Living Will because it takes effect while you are still living but unable to make your own decisions.

What is a “Healthcare Surrogate Designation?”
A Healthcare Surrogate Designation is a document naming another person as your representative to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself. You can include instructions about any treatment you want or do not want, similar to a living will. You can also designate an alternate surrogate.

What is an “Anatomical Donation?”
An Anatomical Donation is a document that indicates your wish to donate, at death, all or part of your body. This can be an organ and tissue donation to persons in need, or donation of your body for training of healthcare workers. You can indicate your choice to be an organ donor by designating it on your driver’s license or state identification card, signing a uniform donor form or expressing your wish in a living will.

Where do I get more information?
It is our policy at Bay Medical to foster open communication regarding bioethical decisions and respect the implementation of your rights. For more information regarding advance medical directives, contact your nurse.