Make sure you know who will make healthcare decisions for you – by Neil Fogarty

Not Cousin Eddie!

Everyone remembers the bumbling Cousin Eddie from the National Lampoon Vacation movies. Played by Randy Quaid, this half-witted character gets laughs for his sheer stupidity. “Real tomato ketchup Eddie?” “Oh, nothing but the best!” This interplay between the Clark Griswold character and Eddie is a great gag, but what if Clark ends up in the hospital, and Eddie is the only kin around?

A Different Skit

Picture Clark unconscious after one of his inevitable mishaps. Helen and the kids are away, and nobody else is around…but Cousin Eddie. I don’t know about you, but there are a million other people I want making medical decisions for me other than a Cousin Eddie! We all have those relatives that we would shudder to picture deciding what to do with us in the hospital! How can you avoid this offshoot script from happening to you? You need power!

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney, according to, is a “legal form that allows an individual to empower another with decisions regarding his or her healthcare and medical treatment. Healthcare power of attorney becomes active when a person is unable to make decisions or consciously communicate intentions regarding treatments.” In other words, if you are unable to decide your own treatment, the person you designate, can.

Don’t Mess This Up!

The last blog in this series talked about a living will. There is an important distinction between the living will and the healthcare power of attorney. The living will directs your final wishes, if you are not able to make a final decision about your end of life. Healthcare power of attorney provides the person you designate the ability to makes decisions for you, with the hope those decisions will bring you back to a state where you can make your own choices. Having both is vital and should be on the Family Bucket List. So, don’t let Cousin Eddie decide your fate! Get working on a Healthcare Power of Attorney today.

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