By Harry S. Margolis
As long as we are 18 or over and have our wits together, we all have the right to make our own health care decisions. But what happens when we become incapacitated, whether temporarily or permanently, and cannot make such decisions?
Then, legally, only a court-appointed guardian or an agent under a health care proxy can make decisions for us. In an emergency, medical providers can take measures to keep us alive, but once the emergency has passed, no one has the right to step in and make decisions in the absence of a health care proxy or guardianship appointment.