Missouri law allows any competent adult may execute a document directing that life-sustaining procedures be withheld or withdrawn. Revocable living will, power of attorney for health care

Missouri Health Care Directive, advance medical directive

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Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 459. It is not mandatory that you have health care directive, however it is highly recommended. Without advance directive you can not communicate your wishes to the doctor



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Missouri Advance Medical and Health Care Directive  

Advance Health Care
Directive Law Summary

(Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 459. Declarations and Life Support)


bullet link An advance health care directive
bullet link Health Care Power of Attorney
bullet link Living Will Declaration
bullet link Living Will procedures
bullet link Declarant
bullet link Terminal condition
bullet link Incapacitated
bullet link Declaration must be signed and witnessed or acknowledged by a notary public
bullet link A declaration may be revoked at any time
bullet link Life-sustaining procedure
bullet link Qualified patient

Under Missouri law you may designate a person to make health care decision for you when you are unable to do it yourself, or you can make your wishes regarding end of life decisions known in advance. There are two documents that help you to take away your concerns regarding your health care needs: a Health Care Power of attorney and a Living Will Declaration.
These forms are made pursuant to Missouri Revised Statutes sections 459.010 to 459.055.

A Health Care Power of Attorney (Power of Attorney for Health Care) lets you name another individual as an agent to make health care decisions for you if you become incapable of making your own decisions or if you want someone else to make those decisions for you now even though you are still capable. You may also name an alternate agent to act for you if your first choice is not willing, able, or reasonably available to make decisions for you. (Your agent may not be an operator or employee of a community care facility or a residential care facility where you are receiving care, or your supervising health care provider or employee of the health care institution where you are receiving care, unless your agent is related to you or is a coworker.)
The person you appoint as agent should be someone you know and trust. The person must be 18 years of age or older.
Unless the form you sign limits the authority of your agent, your agent may make all health care decisions for you.
Your agent may not consent to voluntary inpatient mental health services, convulsive treatment, psychosurgery, or abortion. A physician must comply with your agent's instructions or allow you to be transferred to another physician.
The Living Will Declaration is designed to help you communicate your wishes about medical treatment at some time in the future when you are unable to make your wishes known because of illness or injury. These wishes are usually based on personal values. In particular, you may want to consider what burdens or hardships of treatment you would be willing to accept in exchange for obtaining a certain degree of benefit obtained if you were seriously ill. If there is something you do not understand about this document you should consult an attorney.
In your Living Will you can decide whether you want any of the following procedures:
  • surgery
  • heart-lung resuscitation (CPR)
  • antibiotics
  • mechanical ventilator (respirator)
  • dialysis
  • tube feedings (food and water delivered through a tube in the vein, nose or stomach)
  • chemotherapy.
Below please find important definitions that you may see in your Missouri Health Care Directive.
A declarant is a person who has executed a Living Will.(Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 459.010)
A terminal condition is an incurable or irreversible condition which, in the opinion of the attending physician, is such that death will occur within a short time regardless of the application of medical procedures.
Unless you state otherwise, Missouri law requires two doctors to make decision on your incapacity. However, you have a right to choose whether you require one or two doctors to pronounce you incapacitated.
(Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 459.010)
Incapacitated means that you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself and it is time for your agent to act.
The declaration shall be given operative effect only if the declarant's condition is determined to be terminal and the declarant is not able to make treatment decisions. A physician, health care professional or facility or other person may not act contrary to the declarant's expressed intent to withhold or withdraw death prolonging procedures without serious reason therefore consistent with the best interest of the declarant.
The declaration to withdraw or withhold treatment by a patient diagnosed as pregnant by the attending physician shall have no effect during the course of the declarant's pregnancy.
Under Missouri law this document must be:
  1. In writing and signed by the individual making the declarations about his healthcare;
  2. Witnessed by two individuals of lawful age (18) who are not the agent, not related to the principal by blood, marriage or adoption, not entitled to any portion of principal's estate and not financially responsible for principal's health care; OR
  3. Acknowledged by a notary public;
  4. Document must be dated.

(Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 459.015. 1)
It is the responsibility of declarant to provide for notification to the declarant's attending physician of the existence of the declaration. An attending physician who is so notified shall make the declaration, or a copy of the declaration, a part of the declarant's medical records.
A declaration may be revoked at any time by the declarant by any of the following methods:
  • by being obliterated, burnt, torn, or otherwise destroyed or defaced in a manner indicating intention to cancel;
  • by a written revocation of the declaration signed and dated by the declarant or person acting at the direction of the declarant;
  • or by a verbal expression of the intent to revoke the declaration, in the presence of a witness eighteen (18) years of age or older who signs and dates a writing confirming that such expression of intent was made. Any verbal revocation shall become effective upon receipt by the attending physician of the above mentioned writing.

(Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 459.020)
A life sustaining procedure is any medical procedure or intervention which, when applied to a qualified patient, would serve only to prolong the dying process and where, in the judgment of the attending physician, death will occur whether or not such procedure or intervention is utilized. "Life sustaining procedure" does not include the administration of medication or the performance of any medical procedure deemed necessary to provide comfort care or to alleviate pain.
(Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 459.010)
A qualified patient is a patient who has executed a declaration in accordance with the statute and who has been diagnosed and certified in writing to be afflicted with a terminal condition by two physicians who have personally examined the patient, one of whom shall be the attending physician.
* * *

Missouri Advance Health Care Directive To better understand the health care and pecuniary related issues our legal articles, frequently asked questions, facts and other law related information may be of interest to you.



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