Using Your Power as a Health Care Proxy to Protect Loved Ones


When illness or injury make spouses, parents, or other loved ones unable to advocate for themselves, a key document allows you to step in: the health care proxy. This allows the person in question to appoint an agent to make key medical decisions.

As the agent named in a health care proxy, you hold far more power than you might realize. This position gives you a huge say in how your loved one is treated while receiving medical care. This could be vital if you suspect that incompetence among doctors or nurses may be causing undue harm. Your abilities include the following:

Obtain and Examine Health Care Records

If you have any question as to the type or quality of care your loved one is receiving, request full medical records. Examine these closely to determine whether claims made by the patient’s health care provider match up to the reality that you’ve observed.

Remember: informed consent is crucial, and, as a health care proxy, this means keeping you fully aware of the incapacitated individual’s care so that you can make decisions about whether to move forward with proposed treatments.

Ask for a Second Opinion

If you suspect a missed or incorrect diagnosis, it’s your responsibility as health care proxy to seek a second opinion. This is also valuable if you’re worried about the proposed treatments — or lack thereof.

Advocate for Moving to a New Facility

If you suspect that incompetence is harming your loved one, you have the right (and arguably, the responsibility) to seek care from another facility. Depending on the situation, it may be wise for the patient to move to a different hospital or to switch to a nursing home or hospice. Research alternate facilities carefully to determine where the potential for negligence is lowest.

If incompetence in a health care setting caused a loved one to suffer, take action with help from the medical malpractice lawyers at Regan Zambri Long PLLC.