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Quick PSA

As college students head back to college, I wanted to remind parents that their college bound children should have a set of documents in place so the parents can access their medical info and make medical decisions if something terrible were to happen to their student. Once the child is 18, the child is in charge of their own decisions and hospitals do not automatically defer to the parents’ decisions.

Students should have a health care power of attorney, HIPAA release, living will, and financial power of attorney. I prepare the set of documents for a reduced fee of $150.

Parents are on their own in trying to access their child’s grades and tuition bills.

Pic is from Jack’s first day at OSU last year.

No Mayo, Please

Alyssa Gilderhus was 18 years old when she suffered a ruptured aneurysm. She was given a 2% chance of survival when she arrived at the Mayo Clinic. Miraculously, she survived and was transferred to the Mayo’s rehab section. Her mother soon became disenchanted with her care and requested that various personnel not attend to her daughter while voicing her displeasure on Facebook posts in all caps. She eventually asked for a transfer to a different hospital.

The Mayo Clinic refused the transfer request alleging that Alyssa could not make decisions for herself. The hospital also sought guardianship of the patient. Frustrated, Alyssa’s family engaged in a cloak and dagger move with Alyssa escaping the hospital and fleeing Minnesota so she could not be returned to the hospital.

A South Dakota hospital saw Alyssa and prescribed medication and sent her home. Alyssa graduated from high school this year after being named Prom Queen.

One point, one plug, and one comment.

1. When she turned 18, Alyssa should have executed a health care power of attorney and a HIPAA Release so her mom could access her health care records and legally make medical decisions for her during her incapacity.

2. I always advise my clients to have their children execute those documents when they turn 18 and definitely before leaving for college. My fee is $150.

3. I would tend to follow the advice of doctors at the Mayo Clinic over those at a rural South Dakota hospital. But if a mother who posts on Facebook in all caps with exclamation points wants to follow different advice for her daughter’s care, she, not a social worker, should have the right to make that decision.

Photo Credit:  Engebretson family

License:  Fair Use/Education

 

Not All Tattoos Are Pointless

When an unconscious Florida man was brought to a hospital without identification but a tattoo that said “Do Not Resuscitate” and a signature, doctors were surprisingly faced with what to do with the dying man. They first thought they should disregard the tattoo because it might not reflect his current wishes because he might have gotten it when drunk. An ethicist later over-ruled the doctors and said that his tattooed wishes must be respected.The man eventually died. An NYU ethicist quoted in the article said that people should carry their health care directives with them to prevent these problems.
 
Several points:
 
1. Sad that the hospital was at first going to ignore something as obvious as the man’s tattooed wishes. Even if he were drunk when he obtained the tattoo, he could have remembered to remove it any time whenever he saw himself and the tattoo in a mirror.
 
2. I have scans of all my clients’ documents and have occasionally been asked to send them to a hospital while I have been out of town. The cloud can be a tremendous tool.
 
3. Carrying one’s health care directives in case of emergency seems like an extreme command by the ethicist especially in the case of homeless folks who are simply trying to push a cart with their blankets and clothes and looking for food. Neatly preserved health care directives would seem to be low on the priority list.
 
4. Moving beyond homeless folks, asking folks to carry their health care directives while they run to CVS or Sam’s Club seems burdensome. This is further proof that the academic world is not the real world.

Prayers For Otto

Otto Warmbier is the Cincinnatian who was held captive by North Korea for 17 months for allegedly trying to steal a propaganda sign on a college visit. While starting to serve a 15 year sentence of hard labor, he was beaten so severely that he suffered a brain injury and returned home Tuesday night in a coma. Doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center have described his condition as “unresponsive wakefulness.”

One small legal point:

1. Once a child turns 18, I encourage parents to have their child sign a health care power of attorney, living will, and HIPAA Release so the parents can access their child’s medical records and make medical decisions for them. Without those documents, the parents might be stymied in making decisions in the best interest of their child.

2. This story breaks my heart. No snark here out of respect for Otto and his parents. Tell your child you love him/her tonight.

Photo Credit:  Christopher Oquendo for dailymail.com

License:  Fair Use/Education

Coma and Lamar

Lamar_KhloeLamar Odom remains in a coma in Las Vegas after being found unconscious in a Nevada brothel after going on a weekend bender with cocaine and herbal viagra. His estranged wife, Khloe Kardashian, is reportedly making his medical decisions for him even though they separated two years ago and signed their divorce papers in July.  Los Angeles divorce courts have a four month backlog of divorce cases.

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All Posts By Jay Brinker

I am an attorney located in Cincinnati, Ohio who practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, asset protection, and small business advice. I make a difficult and bewildering process as simple as possible. Most importantly, I provide "more for less" for my clients.