A statutory health attorney is a person who has direct authority to make health-related decisions on behalf of a person with diminished ability or capacity to decide on personal health matters. The decisions are directly concerned with personal healthcare, particularly in situations where one is ill. People fall ill or accidentally lose consciousness, and the only medical treatment is an operation. Others suffer mental illness, such as dementia or brain-connected injuries that limit them from making accurate decisions concerning medical treatment. In such cases a health attorney is mandated by law to act. However, the decision is delegated only when the affected person had not put in place relevant health directions in case of such situations. A person may also not have a personal attorney, who automatically takes over personal decisions as per the attorney’s governing powers.
Decisions to have a health attorney make personal health choices also occur in cases where there are no selected guardians capable of making the required decisions.The health attorney is an automatic option based on the relationship with the impaired or affected person. Culturally, the option and precedence are considered based on several factors.
The first option is the spouse or genuine partner of the ill person, who must be in a long, close, and continuing relationship, known through relevant laws or known to others. Secondly, consideration should belong to the person who is responsible for the primary health-care of the affected party. Such a person should not be someone who paid for the health care, but a close friend or family member with whom they must not be bonded through monetary benefits, and also must be an adult.
If all these options are not available, then the last resort is engaging a public guardian to act as the statutory health attorney. This attorney is allowed to make all medical decisions, including acceptance of in-patient admission, life-sustainability, nutrition choices and withdrawal options among others. The decisions must not necessarily consent to any undertaken forensic examinations. These verdicts are equally independent of all possible special health problems, such as terminations, donations, sterilization, and all special medical research or experimental health actions.
All decisions must be in the interest of the affected person and must indicate support for advancement towards proper health and well-being. Therefore, the options taken must be in the best interest of the affected, and consequently focus on intrusive handling in relation to the affected person’s wishes and doctor’s advice or opinion.
The authority of a health attorney ends when the affected person regains consciousness, when he/she is able to make right-minded decisions. The role connecting to personal matter is not continual, as that of a guardian, therefore next time the situation arises, the precedence verification process is followed and any other easily-reachable person may act as the legal health attorney.