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Does anyone have any info on medical directives or know about them? My oldest sibling and I were discussing them. I'm not sure if any of my family members would be able to make decisions on my behalf. (too upset at the time, etc) Are there impartial Health care proxies or a medical person who would be able to take on the roll ? I'm looking for a lawyer, price, etc.  I"ve been searching but haven't found what I'm looking for. I live in PA.

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I think it’s very uncommon for health care proxies to be people who aren’t close to you. What you’re asking about is pretty much what happens if you don’t designate a health care proxy: professionals responsible for your care use their best judgment to do right by you, but don’t really know your wishes and preferences. A well-crafted advance directive can guide those professionals regarding your preferences, but it’s hard to do better than a thoughtful, caring loved one or friend who has agreed to take on the job if it becomes necessary.

A good estate attorney can help you prepare an advance directive that complies with your state’s laws and conforms to your wishes. These documents are typically prepared at the same time wills are prepared or updated.


My wife and I completed this process before beginning my surgical journey last year.

My comments are based upon the laws of the state of Florida. We were advised by our estate attorney not to do advanced directives as they would override everything else, and not take into account what is going on at the moment.

In other words, we are better off with mutual health care proxies for each of us. Given the emergency surgery I had to undergo, she was in a position to carry out my wishes, should she have been called upon to do so.

If you can figure out the Who, I feel you will be in a better position to have your wishes carried out.

I realize from your post that some family members might not be able to do this. And I don’t think my children would be able to take over that role should my wife pass before me.

I know it’s a tough ask, but if you leave with only advanced directives, you will be leaving the interpretation to the hospital, doctors and others.

Everyone has their own take on this, but even if you do not want to give medical decision authority to a family member, it is a good idea to discuss at least in a general way what your wishes are in various scenarios. Hopefully it would prevent conflict when and if the need arises. You can enlist a close friend to be the contact if you become incapacitated. It is best to have someone local.


State laws vary, but some (NY) define who may make decisions for you in the absence of a "healthcare proxy" or "healthcare power of attorney"  (terms vary by state.)  Best to identify someone to name as your healthcare agent. Can be family or a friend, and talk to them about your wishes which may change over time.   PA forms, which are "statutory" - a form from the state's law books - are available online or through your hospital system or doctors office. And they're free.  So you can name an agent now and then change to someone else later if circumstances change.

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