Doctors and other health care workers are trained to save lives whenever possible, but that can get them in trouble when patients don’t agree.

Millions of people now have advanced medical directives. This can cause conflicts and problems for health care workers, according to The New York Times in “The Patients Were Saved, That’s Why the Families Are Suing.”

The problems start when the patients’ advanced directives are not followed.

Health care workers who are either unaware of or uncertain about the directives, have been known to resuscitate patients who do not wish to be, for example. This outcome led some families to sue for saving the lives of their sick relatives, which is a new position for doctors to be in. The majority of suits normally come when they fail to save patients.

It leaves many doctors bewildered, since the Hippocratic Oath does not suggest that saving a patient’s life is ever inappropriate. However, Americans deserve to have their advanced medical directives respected and followed.

It is important to discuss with your family and your estate planning attorney your true wishes regarding life-sustaining and life-ending treatment before executing your health care proxy and selecting health care agents ready to fulfill your wishes.

Reference: New York Times (April 10, 2017) “The Patients Were Saved, That’s Why the Families Are Suing.”

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.