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Florida group considering new state-wide medical form

A coalition of attorneys, ethicists and doctors is hoping to introduce a bill in the Florida legislature that would both standardize and require recognition of a new type of medical document, the "Physicians Orders for Lifesaving Treatment." It is believed POSTs would fill a gap many believe exist between a living will and a "Do Not Resuscitate Order." This is a second attempt at passage of such a law, which failed when introduced in 2006.

There is a perceived problem with living wills, because they are not signed by a doctor and are often vague with regard to specific medical treatments. For these reasons, some say that medical professionals are less likely to honor such documents. POLSTs can cover many medical interventions, including CPR, and are now used in about 15 other states. The need for POSTs has come to the forefront recently, after a California nursing home staff member refused to perform CPR on a resident, because it was against the company's policy. The resident later died.

Many people think of estate planning in terms of safeguarding wealth. While this is certainly a main objective, the importance of healthcare proxies, living wills, powers of attorney and medical directives cannot be overlooked. It is important for adults to contemplate the possibility of their physical and mental incapacity, and the consequences that would result. Due to the increasing pace of technology, people can be kept alive by artificial means more than ever before. The more tools that are available to those who have specific wishes regarding their medical and end-of-life care, the better prepared such people will be for the inevitable, and the easier it will be for healthcare professionals to ensure those wishes are observed.

Source: "To do CPR or not? New form can help answer that question," Diane C. Lade, March 19, 2013

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