July 1st, 2018 marks the implementation of several common-sense changes that the Indiana Legislature recently made to Indiana’s medical consent statute (I.C. 16-36-1-1 et. seq.)
If a person becomes incapable of making their own health care choices and doesn’t have written advance directives in place, Indiana law now has the following “priority order” of people who can make these choices on an individual’s behalf:
- A judicially appointed guardian of the person
- Adult Child
- Adult sibling
- Adult grandchild
- Nearest relative in next degree of kinship who is not listed in sections 2-7
- Friend who:
- Is an adult;
- Has maintained regular contact with the individual and;
- Is familiar with the individual’s activities, health and religious or moral beliefs.
- The individual’s religious superior, if the individual is a member of a religious order
If there’s more than one member of a voting group, then they must try to reach a collaborative consensus. If they can’t agree, then the majority rules.
The new law also specifies that the following people can’t make health care decisions:
- A spouse if the individual legally separated (or the spouse is the reason that the individual is hospitalized.)
- A person who is subjected to a protective order involving the individual
- A person who is subjected to pending criminal charges involving the individual
- A person the individual intentionally excluded when he or she signed advance directives
So, what practically happens when there is no advance directive and a person can’t consent to healthcare? In that case, the person’s care providers are required to conduct a “reasonable inquiry” to determine who can consent.
The good news? By naming a health care representative or a health care power of attorney, you can take charge of these choices yourself and decide who will speak for you if you can’t. We can help.
Good health is such a very precious thing. So eat your veggies, do some yoga, and be empowered!
Talking about health care choices won’t kill you.