Retaining control over a person’s health care decisions, particularly if the person becomes incapacitated, is the function of an advanced health care directive.
Confusion can result as to whether a patient has executed a directive, whether the directive is valid, whether the advance directive has been triggered by an event or patient condition, and if the provider has complied with the directive.
Problems related to failures to comply can lead to litigation. Claims may be brought, for example, for medical malpractice, negligence, informed consent, or medical battery. Attorneys, physicians, insurers, employers, health care facilities, and other potential parties to litigation need to understand the types of lawsuits and other liability issues that may arise in connection with a failure to comply with an advance directive.