Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
|P.A. 312 of 1990
H.B. 4016 of 1990 – Rep. David Hollister
Recodified by P.A. 386 of 1998
In December 1990, the Michigan Legislature approved a bill establishing a durable power of attorney for health care. Passage of the bill followed more than 14 years of debate over how the rights of incompetent patients should be protected. Disagreements existed in a variety of areas from dealing with an unconscious pregnant woman, to when patients could be deprived of food and water. Over time a process-oriented bill was crafted which provided safeguards against abuses. The law allows individuals to direct their medical care through an appointed patient advocate.The wisdom of this approach has become apparent as states which initially enacted only living will laws have found them to be inadequate.A durable power of attorney is the standard for a thorough advance directive. Incompetent patients now have available to them the best means of protecting their rights. By appointing an advocate, and being able to put their wishes in writing in the durable power document, patients can direct their care and still have the procedural safeguards to insure there right to life is not compromised. Right to Life of Michigan supported the concept of the durable power during many of the years of debate before the law was finally passed.
Currently in Michigan, only documents executed pursuant to a 1990 Michigan law allow citizens to establish a legally recognized “advance directive.” The durable power of attorney for health care allows individuals to name another person to be their “patient advocate” in an instance when they are unable to make medical decisions. The law also allows individuals to specify in the document the types of treatments they wish to receive or refuse.
Right to Life of Michigan remains firmly opposed to granting legal recognition to living wills through legislative enactment.