Posted on February 4, 2019 at 4:30 AM
The New York Family Health Care Decisions Act states that if a surrogate directs the provision of life-sustaining treatment, but the hospital or individual health care provider “does not wish to provide such treatment,” the hospital or individual provider nevertheless must either comply with the surrogate’s decision, transfer the patient, or seek court review.
This provision is appropriate as applied to a dispute between the surrogate and the provider. However, it does not clearly or appropriately apply to disputes between a surrogate and the patient himself, as evidenced by the patient’s clear prior decision.
Accordingly, A.B. 3283 aims to clarify that the provision relating to a dispute between the surrogate and the provider does not apply when the patient has already made a decision about the proposed health care, expressed orally or in writing.
This amendment aligns with long-standing principles of law and ethics. Indeed, the rules on the scope of surrogate authority are so well-established (and here), it is unfortunate that the amendment is even needed.