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FAQ: Can I register my loved one who can no longer make decisions?

FAQ: Can I register my loved one who can no longer make decisions?

Young female hands hugging old woman, closeup. Giving support during body donation

MedCure’s program is based on the principle of self-consent. Ideally, all of our donors would complete their own pre-registration process, including the submission of the signed Donor Consent Form prior to passing. However, we recognize that this is not always possible. Certain medical conditions can make self-consent impossible, and some of them can strike without warning. In cases like these, MedCure may still be able to accept the consent of an authorized third party, provided certain conditions have been met.

The most common person authorized to consent on behalf of another person is a Healthcare Proxy or Power of Attorney. This is someone to whom the donor has passed the authority to make medical decisions on the donor’s behalf. This agreement must be recorded in an official document such as an Advance Directive or a Medical Power of Attorney. The legal document will record which decisions the Proxy or POA is authorized to make, and only the stated decisions can be carried out.

It is important to remember than a Medical Power of Attorney or Power of Attorney for Healthcare are different documents than a standard or Durable Power of Attorney. A regular or durable POA grants authority over financial decisions, but typically does not allow the agent to make healthcare decisions. There must be an explicit grant of rights over medical, healthcare, or final disposition decisions in order to allow the proxy to consent to donations on the other party’s behalf.

If you are your loved one’s designated healthcare proxy, MedCure will ask that you submit copies of the supporting legal documents before you sign the consent forms on the donor’s behalf. Because these documents are all individual and can be customized to suit each donor’s wishes, our Donation Coordinators will need to review them in order to ensure that the language used meets our legal requirements. Once the documents have been reviewed and approved, the Donation Coordinator will walk you through the process of signing and returning the Donor Consent Form on the donor’s behalf.

There are occasions when the supporting legal documents we review are not valid for our purposes. Sometimes this is because the existing Power of Attorney only covers financial rather than healthcare decisions. In this case, it is possible we can still accept the donation if the donor’s Next of Kin provides consent after the donor’s passing. Because all POA agreements end at the time of passing, the authority to make the end of life decision automatically passes to the donor’s Next of Kin, who can then sign the Donor Consent Form.

If, on the other hand, the Power of Attorney or Advance Directive document states that the Donor did not wish to donate organs or tissues after death, then MedCure will honor that decision and will decline the donation even if the Next of Kin consents after the donor has passed.

For more information on Supporting Legal Documents, please visit our website https://medcure.org/body-donation-resources/ to view our informational video on the subject. You can also contact us with questions by emailing info@medcure.org, or by calling toll-free, 24-hours a day at 1-866-560-2525. One of our Donation Coordinators will be happy to assist you.