Legal and Ethical Decisions

With advances in treatment, technology and surgical techniques coming quickly in our modern world, it can sometimes create difficult legal and ethical decisions. As a patient at Hahnemann University Hospital, we want you to be prepared for all scenarios.

When moving forward with treatment, your medical team will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each of your treatment options. We encourage you to ask any questions you may have to help you weigh all the facts. If you’re having trouble making a decision, we’re here to provide ethical help. 

Advance Directives

When you’re admitted to Hahnemann University Hospital, you’ll be asked if you have any advance directives. These are legal documents that allow you to spell out your wishes for end-of-life care to your family members and medical team.

A living will is concerned with treatment that would prolong life when someone is near death. This document is often used to state that the patient does not want to be kept alive “on machines” after their bodies have naturally given out. With this document, you can also include instructions for things like the use of dialysis, tube feeding, organ or tissue donation and if you want to be resuscitated if your breathing or heartbeat stops. However, a living will does not prevent a doctor from prescribing pain medication.

Another advance directive that you may have is a durable power of attorney for health care. This document allows you to designate another person to make health care decisions for you when you no longer can or do not wish to.

Choosing to sign an advance directive is a very personal choice and there is no right or wrong decision. If you’d like more information or documents regarding advance directives, don’t hesitate to ask our admitting staff.