Do Catholic Hospitals Honor Living Wills?

By Teo Spengler

You can control your future healthcare even when you are in a coma or incompetent by creating advance directives while you are competent. A living will is a type of advance directive in which you write down your choices for end-of-life care. Generally, medical facilities must honor your directive, although "reason-of-conscience" exceptions can apply.

You can control your future healthcare even when you are in a coma or incompetent by creating advance directives while you are competent. A living will is a type of advance directive in which you write down your choices for end-of-life care. Generally, medical facilities must honor your directive, although "reason-of-conscience" exceptions can apply.

Living Wills

You can create a living will by obtaining an advance directive form from state courts, your attorney or an online legal document service. In the document, you may specify the type of medical care and treatment you want and do not want, such as life-sustaining or life-prolonging measures, should you become incompetent. Healthcare providers generally are legally bound to honor the terms of your living will, but certain exceptions can apply.

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Exceptions for Reasons of Conscience

Some states do not require hospitals to honor a living will if they have policies, based on reasons of conscience, against carrying out the medical treatment requested. If a Catholic hospital has a conscience-based policy that prevents it from following some part of your advance directive, its duties depend on the law of the state in which it is located. In some states, the hospital must arrange to transfer you to a medical facility that will honor your healthcare instructions. You can avoid such issues by asking about hospital policy at institutions near you before the need for hospitalization arises.

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What Is a Typical Living Will?

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Reasons for Having a Living Will

It is not unusual to fear becoming too sick or injured to express your wishes concerning your medical treatment to your doctors and loved ones. While doctors and medical personnel are trained and committed to saving lives, not allowing them to end, you may not want doctors to use extraordinary means, such as artificial respiration or tube feeding, to keep you alive in a vegetative state. A living will is a legal document that provides individuals a means by which to express their wishes regarding medical treatment if they become unable to make their own medical decisions. Each state has its own laws governing the format, signing formalities and legal effect of a living will. Consider using an Internet document preparation website to prepare your living will according to your state's laws.

The State of Ohio Health Care Power of Attorney

Most adults are capable of making their own healthcare decisions with the assistance of their physicians and loved ones, but sometimes they are not mentally capable of making these decisions. Both temporary and permanent conditions can render you unable to participate in your own healthcare decisions. Ohio law allows you to appoint someone else to make your healthcare decisions under a healthcare power of attorney, also known as a durable power of attorney for healthcare.

Are Living Wills Complicated?

Living wills allow people to control the type of medical care or procedures they receive, even if they are unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate with their doctor. Usually associated with end-of-life decisions such as artificial resuscitation and hydration, tube feeding and artificial respiration, living wills can be used to express any concerns or preferences you may have about the medical care you receive. Living wills must be in writing and signed by the patient; other formalities vary depending upon the state in which the document is signed.

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