Cart

Authority of a Health Care Agent & Surrogate

Health Care Agent’s Rights and Obligations

Under New York’s Health Care Proxy Law, a Health Care Agent:

Surrogate’s Rights and Obligations

Under New York’s Family Health Care Decisions Act, a Surrogate:

Under New York’s Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act 1750-b (SCPA § 1750-b), a § 1750-b Surrogate:

MOLST Represents “Clear & Convincing” Evidence

The patient’s decision on the MOLST form represents “clear and convincing” evidence of the patient’s preferences for any or all life-sustaining treatment the patient wishes to receive or avoid, based on current health status and prognosis.

If the patient requests no limitations on medical interventions after a thoughtful MOLST discussion based on current health status and prognosis, the decision represents a desire to receive the standard of care at that time.

All health care professionals must follow these medical orders as the patient moves from one location to another.

What a Health Care Agent and Surrogate Cannot Do1

If the patient loses the ability to make MOLST decisions and the patient has already made decisions to withhold certain life-sustaining treatment (e.g. Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) and Do Not Intubate (DNI), the health care agent or surrogate cannot undo the patient’s decision.

What a Health Care Agent and Surrogate Can Do1

If the patient loses the ability to make MOLST decisions and the patient has requested full treatment for certain life-sustaining treatment, the health care agent or surrogate can make a decision to withhold and/or withdraw other life-sustaining treatment on the MOLST for which the patient requested full treatment, as full treatment represents the standard of care.

For example, a decision to forego future hospitalization, a feeding tube or other life-sustaining treatment can be made if it is consistent with known wishes or in the best interest of the patient, based on a major change in health status or prognosis.

1Bomba PA, Karmel J. Medical, Ethical and Legal Obligations to Honor Patient Preferences. NYSBA Health Law Journal Spring/Summer 2015; 20(2):28-33.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

We are a community website focused on educating all members of the community on End-of-Life issues.