A spokesperson for the Iowa State Bar Association says the coverage of the Terry Schiavo) case has spurred lots of interest — with the lawyer’s website getting one-thousand inquiries a day. Sally Reavely, one of the Bar Association’s experts on health issues, says there are two “Advanced Directives” that can be used by Iowans in determining their medial care. One is the “Living Will.”She says the Living Will is a written statement to the attending physician that says if the person is in a “terminal condition”, they do not want to have life-saving procedures done on them. The second is a “Durable Health Care Power of Attorney.” She says, “the person appoints another person, or an agent, to act on their behalf anytime the person is unable to make their own decisions regarding medical care. so, they don’t have to be in a terminal condition. In a Living Will that person has to be in a terminal condition as determined by the doctor.” Reavely says the health care power of attorney is something that can be used in a lot of circumstances. She says an example is if someone goes in for surgery and is under anesthetic and the doctor needs to make a decision. The designated person in the health care power of attorney could make the decision. Reavely says it’s important to be sure your Living Will is properly prepared. She says it’s not real complicated, but you need to have a written statement directing your physician to withhold life-sustaining procedures when you’re in a terminal condition. You need to sign it, date it and have a witness or a notary sign it. Reavely says you don’t legally need a notary to sign the document, but she says it’s recommended. She says the notary is the safest way, because unless you know who can and can’t be a witness, you could have the wrong person be a witness. She says notaries are easy to find, and most don’t require a fee for their services. Reavely says the Living Will has to be a little more formal than a note on a piece of paper. She says, “If you have written down something about your wishes and signed it, that would NOT be a Living Will, but it certainly would be direction that could be used in the future if there became an issue on what your wishes were.” For more information on Living Wills and Durable Power of Attorney, you can check the Iowa Bar Association’s website at www.iowabar.org.
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