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Advance Health Directives

A law called the New York Health Care Proxy Law allows you to appoint someone you trust — a family member or close friend, for example — to decide about treatment if you lose the ability to decide for yourself. You can do this by using a Health Care Proxy Form (pdf) to appoint your "health care agent."

This law gives you the power to make sure that health care professionals follow your wishes. Your agent can also decide how your wishes apply as your medical condition changes. Hospitals, doctors and other health care providers must follow your agent's decisions as if they were your own. You can give the person you select as your health care agent as little or as much authority as you want. You can allow your agent to decide about all health care or only certain treatments. You may also give your agent instructions that he or she has to follow.
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