Pennsylvania Advance Directive for Health Care Law

Power of Attorney and Health Care – General – Pennsylvania

Definitions

A “declaration” is a written document voluntarily executed by the declarant in accordance with this chapter.

“Life sustaining treatment” is any medical procedure or intervention that, when administered to a qualified patient, will serve only to prolong the process of dying or to maintain the patient in a state of permanent unconsciousness. Life sustaining treatment includes nutrition and hydration administered by gastric tube or intravenously or any other artificial or invasive means if the declaration of a qualified patient specifically provides.

“Permanently unconscious” is a medical condition that has been diagnosed in accordance with currently accepted.

A “qualified patient” is a person who has executed a declaration and who has been determined to be in a terminal condition or to be permanently unconscious.

A “terminal condition” is an incurable and irreversible medical condition caused by injury, disease or physical illness which will, in the opinion of the attending physician, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, result in death regardless of the continued application of life sustaining treatment.

Execution of Declaration

An individual of sound mind who is 18 years of age or older or who has graduated from high school or has married may execute at any time a declaration governing the initiation, continuation, withholding or withdrawal of life sustaining treatment.

Witnesses

The declaration must be signed by the declarant, or by another on behalf of and at the direction of the declarant, and must be witnessed by two individuals each of whom is 18 years of age or older. A witness shall not be the person who signed the declaration on behalf of and at the direction of the declarant.

Form

A declaration is not required to be in the statutory form and may include other specific directions, including, but not limited to, the designation of another person to make the treatment decision for the declarant if the declarant is incompetent and is determined to be in a terminal condition or to be permanently unconscious.

Revocation

A declaration may be revoked at any time and in any manner by the declarant without regard to the declarant’s mental or physical condition.

A revocation is effective upon communication to the attending physician or other health care provider by the declarant or a witness to the revocation.

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