New York Law School

The Importance of a Health Care Proxy

A couple of weeks ago I found myself lying in a hospital bed discussing the need for surgery. The only time I’ve had surgery before was when I was infant. Now, at 25 years old, I was going through a procedure to alleviate the excruciating pain I was experiencing. As a newly admitted attorney, I began panicking about the fact that I didn’t have all my documents in order. But there was one document I knew I needed to fill out before going into surgery: a health care proxy form.

A health care proxy form is an important legal document that allows you to indicate who can make health care decisions for you in the event that you are unable to. In addition, you can indicate your decision on tissue and organ donation. I knew I needed to fill out the document when I entered the emergency room, but I was truly impressed when the physician assistant asked if I had a health care proxy.

Fortunately my procedure was a success, and I’m back on my feet! I’m glad I went through the process of appointing a health care proxy. I hope you never find yourself in a situation where you’ll need to appoint one in an emergency, but in case you want a health care proxy down the road, you should consider filing the form out as a preemptive act.

Has anyone else filled one out? If so, what motivated you to do so?

The NYS Health Care Proxy Form is available at:

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