If you are an adult, you have the right to know about any medical treatment yourdoctor recommends for you and to refuse it if you choose. However, a serious illness or sudden injury could leave you unable to make decisions or express yourwishes. In such a situation, your relatives would have to decide what you would want. Oregon has a law that allows you to say in writing, ahead of time, how you would want to be treated if you were seriously ill or injured. The legal documents used to do this are called Advance Directives.
The Advance Directive lets you name a person to direct your health care when you cannot do so. This person is called your health care representative. Your health care representative does not need to be a lawyer or health care professional. It should be someone with whom you have discussed your wishes in detail. Your health care representative must agree in writing to represent you. The Advance Directive allows you to give instructions for health care providers to follow if you become unable to direct your care.
The Advance Directive lets you tell your doctor to stop life-sustaining help if you are near death. This tells your doctor that you do not want your life prolonged if you have an injury or illness or disease that two doctors agree you will not recover from. You will get care for pain and to make you comfortable no matter what choices you make. The Advance Directive is only valid if you voluntarily sign it when you are of sound mind. Unless you limit the duration of the Advance Directive it will not expire.
You also may revoke your Advance Directive at any time. You have the right to decide your own health care as long as you are able to, even if you have completed the Advance Directive. Completing the Advance Directive is your choice. If you choose not to fill out and sign the Advance Directive form, it will not affect your health plan coverage or your access to care. The Oregon Advance Directive forms are available at no cost from your Medical Plan (if you are in managed care), or by contacting your local hospital. For more information about Advance Directives, call your Medical Plan (if you are in managed care) or Oregon Health Decisions in Portland at (503) 241-0744 or 1-800-422-4805.
An excerpt from: Oregon Health Plan Client Handbook