What is a health care surrogate designation?


Quick Answer

In Florida, a health care surrogate designation is a document used to give another person the right to make medical decisions on a person's behalf should he become unable to do so himself. In most other states, this document is referred to as a power of attorney for health care.

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Full Answer

This ability to name another person as the legal representative for all medical decisions was set out by the Florida Health Care Surrogate Act. The health care surrogate designation can also include special instructions about any treatments that the person does or doesn't want. In order for the designation to be official, the person making the designation must sign it in the presence of two adult witnesses, at least one of which cannot be either a spouse or blood relative.

The form also allows for the designation of an alternate surrogate in case the primary surrogate is either medically unable or unwilling to make the necessary decisions. However, failure to designate an alternate surrogate in no way invalidates the designation. If neither the primary nor the alternate surrogates are able or willing to make the decisions, the health care facility then has the right to seek the appointment of a proxy to make the final decision. It is also possible to designate a separate surrogate to make decisions related to mental health treatments.

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