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What is a Health Care Proxy?

If you are injured, or become ill, and are unable to communicate or make your own decisions, someone else will have to make health care decisions for you. The New York Health Care Proxy Form is a document that enables you to appoint someone you trust to become your medical decision-maker if/when you become unable to participate in treatment decisions. The person you choose is called your health care agent, and is appointed to express your wishes and make health care decisions as you would if you were able to speak for yourself.

If you are unable to speak for yourself, your health care agent will make your health care decisions for you, telling the doctors what types of treatment you want and what you don’t want, and sharing what your values and wishes. The medical team (doctors, nurses, etc.) is legally required to follow the instructions of your health care agent. If the health care team believes there is good reason to believe they are not acting based on your wishes or are requesting something that may be considered futile or extreme, they may request to see documentation of your wishes.

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