CHAPTER 368w
REMOVAL OF LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEMS

Table of Contents

Sec. 19a-570. Definitions.
Sec. 19a-575a. Form of document re health care instructions, appointment of health care representative, designation of conservator for future incapacity and anatomical gift. Revocation of appointment. Absence of knowledge of revocation.
Sec. 19a-576. Appointment of health care representative.
Sec. 19a-577. Form of document re appointment of health care representative.
Sec. 19a-580d. "Do not resuscitate" orders. Regulations.
Sec. 19a-580e. Conservator's duty to comply with conserved person's health care instructions or other wishes. Precedence of health care representative's decisions. Exceptions.
Sec. 19a-580f. Validity of advance directives, appointments of health care agent and powers of attorney for health care decisions executed before October 1, 2006.

      Sec. 19a-570. Definitions. For purposes of this section and sections 19a-571 to 19a-580c, inclusive:

      (1) "Advance health care directive" or "advance directive" means a writing executed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, including, but not limited to, a living will, or an appointment of health care representative, or both;

      (2) "Appointment of health care representative" means a document executed in accordance with section 19a-575a or 19a-577 that appoints a health care representative to make health care decisions for the declarant in the event the declarant becomes incapacitated;

      (3) "Attending physician" means the physician selected by, or assigned to, the patient, who has primary responsibility for the treatment and care of the patient;

      (4) "Beneficial medical treatment" includes the use of medically appropriate treatment, including surgery, treatment, medication and the utilization of artificial technology to sustain life;

      (5) "Health care representative" means the individual appointed by a declarant pursuant to an appointment of health care representative for the purpose of making health care decisions on behalf of the declarant;

      (6) "Incapacitated" means being unable to understand and appreciate the nature and consequences of health care decisions, including the benefits and disadvantages of such treatment, and to reach and communicate an informed decision regarding the treatment;

      (7) "Life support system" means any medical procedure or intervention which, when applied to an individual, would serve only to postpone the moment of death or maintain the individual in a state of permanent unconsciousness, including, but not limited to, mechanical or electronic devices, including artificial means of providing nutrition or hydration;

      (8) "Living will" means a written statement in compliance with section 19a-575a, containing a declarant's wishes concerning any aspect of his or her health care, including the withholding or withdrawal of life support systems;

      (9) "Next of kin" means any member of the following classes of persons, in the order of priority listed: (A) The spouse of the patient; (B) an adult son or daughter of the patient; (C) either parent of the patient; (D) an adult brother or sister of the patient; and (E) a grandparent of the patient;

      (10) "Permanently unconscious" means an irreversible condition in which the individual is at no time aware of himself or herself or the environment and shows no behavioral response to the environment and includes permanent coma and persistent vegetative state;

      (11) "Terminal condition" means the final stage of an incurable or irreversible medical condition which, without the administration of a life support system, will result in death within a relatively short time period, in the opinion of the attending physician.

      (P.A. 85-606, S. 1; P.A. 91-283, S. 1; P.A. 93-407, S. 3; P.A. 06-195, S. 63; P.A. 07-252, S. 18.)

      History: P.A. 91-283 redefined "life support system" and "terminal condition" and added definitions of "permanently unconscious", "health care agent", "incapacitated", "living will", "next of kin" and "attending physician"; P.A. 93-407 deleted reference to Sec. 19a-575 and added reference to Sec. 19a-580c in introductory language and in Subdiv. (7); P.A. 06-195 alphabetized and renumbered existing definitions, substituted "health care representative" for "health care agent" and redefined the term, and defined "advance health care directive" or "advance directive" and "appointment of health care representative"; P.A. 07-252 made technical changes.

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      Sec. 19a-575a. Form of document re health care instructions, appointment of health care representative, designation of conservator for future incapacity and anatomical gift. Revocation of appointment. Absence of knowledge of revocation. (a) Any person eighteen years of age or older may execute a document that contains health care instructions, the appointment of a health care representative, the designation of a conservator of the person for future incapacity and a document of anatomical gift. Any such document shall be signed and dated by the maker with at least two witnesses and may be in the substantially following form:

THESE ARE MY HEALTH CARE INSTRUCTIONS.

MY APPOINTMENT OF A HEALTH CARE REPRESENTATIVE,

THE DESIGNATION OF MY CONSERVATOR OF THE PERSON

FOR MY FUTURE INCAPACITY

AND

MY DOCUMENT OF ANATOMICAL GIFT

      To any physician who is treating me: These are my health care instructions including those concerning the withholding or withdrawal of life support systems, together with the appointment of my health care representative, the designation of my conservator of the person for future incapacity and my document of anatomical gift. As my physician, you may rely on these health care instructions and any decision made by my health care representative or conservator of my person, if I am incapacitated to the point when I can no longer actively take part in decisions for my own life, and am unable to direct my physician as to my own medical care.

      I, ...., the author of this document, request that, if my condition is deemed terminal or if I am determined to be permanently unconscious, I be allowed to die and not be kept alive through life support systems. By terminal condition, I mean that I have an incurable or irreversible medical condition which, without the administration of life support systems, will, in the opinion of my attending physician, result in death within a relatively short time. By permanently unconscious I mean that I am in a permanent coma or persistent vegetative state which is an irreversible condition in which I am at no time aware of myself or the environment and show no behavioral response to the environment. The life support systems which I do not want include, but are not limited to: Artificial respiration, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and artificial means of providing nutrition and hydration. I do want sufficient pain medication to maintain my physical comfort. I do not intend any direct taking of my life, but only that my dying not be unreasonably prolonged.

      I appoint .... to be my health care representative. If my attending physician determines that I am unable to understand and appreciate the nature and consequences of health care decisions and unable to reach and communicate an informed decision regarding treatment, my health care representative is authorized to make any and all health care decisions for me, including (1) the decision to accept or refuse any treatment, service or procedure used to diagnose or treat my physical or mental condition, except as otherwise provided by law such as for psychosurgery or shock therapy, as defined in section 17a-540, and (2) the decision to provide, withhold or withdraw life support systems. I direct my health care representative to make decisions on my behalf in accordance with my wishes, as stated in this document or as otherwise known to my health care representative. In the event my wishes are not clear or a situation arises that I did not anticipate, my health care representative may make a decision in my best interests, based upon what is known of my wishes.

      If .... is unwilling or unable to serve as my health care representative, I appoint .... to be my alternative health care representative.

      If a conservator of my person should need to be appointed, I designate .... be appointed my conservator. If .... is unwilling or unable to serve as my conservator, I designate ..... No bond shall be required of either of them in any jurisdiction.

      I hereby make this anatomical gift, if medically acceptable, to take effect upon my death.

I give: (check one)

              .... (1) any needed organs or parts

              .... (2) only the following organs or parts ....

to be donated for: (check one)

              (1) .... any of the purposes stated in subsection (a) of section 19a-279f of the general statutes

              (2) .... these limited purposes ....

These requests, appointments, and designations are made after careful reflection, while I am of sound mind. Any party receiving a duly executed copy or facsimile of this document may rely upon it unless such party has received actual notice of my revocation of it.

Date ...., 20..

      .... L.S.


      This document was signed in our presence by .... the author of this document, who appeared to be eighteen years of age or older, of sound mind and able to understand the nature and consequences of health care decisions at the time this document was signed. The author appeared to be under no improper influence. We have subscribed this document in the author's presence and at the author's request and in the presence of each other.
.... ....
(Witness) (Witness)
.... ....
(Number and Street) (Number and Street)
.... ....
(City, State and Zip Code) (City, State and Zip Code)

STATE OF CONNECTICUT

COUNTY OF ....
)
)
)
ss. ....

We, the subscribing witnesses, being duly sworn, say that we witnessed the execution of these health care instructions, the appointments of a health care representative, the designation of a conservator for future incapacity and a document of anatomical gift by the author of this document; that the author subscribed, published and declared the same to be the author's instructions, appointments and designation in our presence; that we thereafter subscribed the document as witnesses in the author's presence, at the author's request, and in the presence of each other; that at the time of the execution of said document the author appeared to us to be eighteen years of age or older, of sound mind, able to understand the nature and consequences of said document, and under no improper influence, and we make this affidavit at the author's request this .... day of .... 20...

.... ....
(Witness) (Witness)
Subscribed and sworn to before me this .... day of .... 20..

....
Commissioner of the Superior Court
Notary Public                                  
My commission expires: ....              

(Print or type name of all persons signing under all signatures)


      (b) Except as provided in section 19a-579b, an appointment of health care representative may only be revoked by the declarant, in writing, and the writing shall be signed by the declarant and two witnesses.

      (c) The attending physician or other health care provider shall make the revocation of an appointment of health care representative a part of the declarant's medical record.

      (d) In the absence of knowledge of the revocation of an appointment of health care representative, a person who carries out an advance directive pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability or discipline for unprofessional conduct for carrying out such advance directive.

      (e) The revocation of an appointment of health care representative does not, of itself, revoke the living will of the declarant.

      (P.A. 93-407, S. 1; P.A. 06-195, S. 66; P.A. 07-252, S. 19.)

      History: (Revisor's note: In 2001 the references in this section to the date "199.." were changed editorially by the Revisors to "20.." to reflect the new millennium); P.A. 06-195 designated existing provisions as Subsec. (a) and amended same by conferring authority previously given to health care agent and attorney-in-fact to health care representative, making conforming changes to form of document, specifying when health care representative's decision making authority is triggered, and replacing former Subdivs. (1) to (4) re authorized actions with provisions re authority to make "any and all health care decisions", and added Subsecs. (b) to (e) re revocation of appointment of health care representative; P.A. 07-252 amended Subsec. (a) to add Subdiv. (1) and (2) designators, clarify health care representative's authority to accept or refuse psychosurgery or shock therapy treatment and incorporate definition of shock therapy in Sec. 17a-540.

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      Sec. 19a-576. Appointment of health care representative. (a) Any person eighteen years of age or older may appoint a health care representative by executing a document in accordance with section 19a-575a or section 19a-577, signed and dated by such person in the presence of two adult witnesses who shall also sign the document. The person appointed as representative shall not act as witness to the execution of such document or sign such document.

      (b) For persons who reside in facilities operated or licensed by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, at least one witness shall be an individual who is not affiliated with the facility and at least one witness shall be a physician or licensed clinical psychologist with specialized training in treating mental illness.

      (c) For persons who reside in facilities operated or licensed by the Department of Developmental Services, at least one witness shall be an individual who is not affiliated with the facility and at least one witness shall be a physician or licensed clinical psychologist with specialized training in developmental disabilities.

      (d) An operator, administrator or employee of a hospital, residential care home, rest home with nursing supervision or chronic and convalescent nursing home may not be appointed as a health care representative by any person who, at the time of the appointment, is a patient or a resident of, or has applied for admission to, one of the foregoing facilities. An administrator or employee of a government agency that is financially responsible for a person's medical care may not be appointed as a health care representative for such person. This restriction shall not apply if such operator, administrator or employee is related to the principal by blood, marriage or adoption.

      (e) A physician shall not act as both health care representative for a principal and attending physician for the principal.

      (P.A. 91-283, S. 3; P.A. 93-407, S. 2; May 25 Sp. Sess. P.A. 94-1, S. 22, 130; P.A. 95-257, S. 11, 58; P.A. 97-112, S. 2; P.A. 06-195, S. 67; P.A. 07-73, S. 2(a).)

      History: P.A. 93-407 amended Subsec. (a) by deleting reference to Sec. 19a-577 and adding reference to Sec. 19a-575a; May 25 Sp. Sess. P.A. 94-1 amended Subsec. (a) by adding reference to Sec. 19a-577, effective July 1, 1994; P.A. 95-257 replaced Commissioner and Department of Mental Health with Commissioner and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, effective July 1, 1995; P.A. 97-112 replaced "home for the aged" with "residential care home"; P.A. 06-195 amended Subsecs. (a), (d) and (e) by substituting "health care representative" for "health care agent" and "agent", amended Subsecs. (b) and (c) by substituting "licensed clinical psychologist" for "clinical psychologist" and made technical changes throughout section; pursuant to P.A. 07-73 "Department of Mental Retardation" was changed editorially by the Revisors to "Department of Developmental Services", effective October 1, 2007.

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      Sec. 19a-577. Form of document re appointment of health care representative. Any person eighteen years of age or older may execute a document that may, but need not be, in substantially the following form:

DOCUMENT CONCERNING THE APPOINTMENT

OF HEALTH CARE REPRESENTATIVE

      "I understand that, as a competent adult, I have the right to make decisions about my health care. There may come a time when I am unable, due to incapacity, to make my own health care decisions. In these circumstances, those caring for me will need direction and will turn to someone who knows my values and health care wishes. By signing this appointment of health care representative, I appoint a health care representative with legal authority to make health care decisions on my behalf in such case or at such time.

      I appoint .... (Name) to be my health care representative. If my attending physician determines that I am unable to understand and appreciate the nature and consequences of health care decisions and to reach and communicate an informed decision regarding treatment, my health care representative is authorized to (1) accept or refuse any treatment, service or procedure used to diagnose or treat my physical or mental condition, except as otherwise provided by law, such as for psychosurgery or shock therapy, as defined in section 17a-540, and (2) make the decision to provide, withhold or withdraw life support systems. I direct my health care representative to make decisions on my behalf in accordance with my wishes as stated in a living will, or as otherwise known to my health care representative. In the event my wishes are not clear or a situation arises that I did not anticipate, my health care representative may make a decision in my best interests, based upon what is known of my wishes.

      If this person is unwilling or unable to serve as my health care representative, I appoint .... (Name) to be my alternative health care representative."

      "This request is made, after careful reflection, while I am of sound mind."

.... (Signature)

.... (Date)

      This document was signed in our presence, by the above-named .... (Name) who appeared to be eighteen years of age or older, of sound mind and able to understand the nature and consequences of health care decisions at the time the document was signed.

.... (Witness)

.... (Address)

.... (Witness)

.... (Address)

      (P.A. 91-283, S. 6; P.A. 06-195, S. 68; 06-196, S. 212; P.A. 07-252, S. 20.)

      History: P.A. 06-195 made a technical change, substituted "health care representative" for "health care agent", expanded form of document re appointment of health care representative, deleted former Subdivs. (1) and (2) and added language re authority of health care representative to accept or refuse specific medical treatments, to carry out declarant's wishes in living will and, when wishes are unclear, to make decisions in declarant's best interests; P.A. 06-196 made technical changes, effective June 7, 2006; P.A. 07-252 added Subdiv. (1) and (2) designators, clarified health care representative's authority to accept or refuse psychosurgery or shock therapy and incorporated definition of shock therapy in Sec. 17a-540.

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      Sec. 19a-580d. "Do not resuscitate" orders. Regulations. The Department of Public Health shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, to provide for a system governing the recognition and transfer of "do not resuscitate" orders between health care institutions licensed pursuant to chapter 368v and upon intervention by emergency medical services providers certified or licensed pursuant to chapter 368d. The regulations shall include, but not be limited to, procedures concerning the use of "do not resuscitate" bracelets. The regulations shall specify that, upon request of the patient or his authorized representative, the physician who issued the "do not resuscitate" order shall assist the patient or his authorized representative in utilizing the system. The regulations shall not limit the authority of the Commissioner of Developmental Services under subsection (g) of section 17a-238 concerning orders applied to persons receiving services under the direction of the Commissioner of Developmental Services.

      (P.A. 95-113; 95-257, S. 12, 21, 58; P.A. 07-73, S. 2(b).)

      History: P.A. 95-257 replaced Commissioner and Department of Public Health and Addiction Services with Commissioner and Department of Public Health, effective July 1, 1995; pursuant to P.A. 07-73 "Commissioner of Mental Retardation" was changed editorially by the Revisors to "Commissioner of Developmental Services", effective October 1, 2007.

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      Sec. 19a-580e. Conservator's duty to comply with conserved person's health care instructions or other wishes. Precedence of health care representative's decisions. Exceptions. (a) Except as authorized by a court of competent jurisdiction, a conservator shall comply with a conserved person's individual health care instructions and other wishes, if any, expressed while the conserved person had capacity and to the extent known to the conservator, and the conservator may not revoke the conserved person's advance health care directive unless the appointing court expressly so authorizes.

      (b) Absent a court order to the contrary, a health care decision of a health care representative takes precedence over that of a conservator, except under the following circumstances: (1) When the health care decision concerns a person who is subject to the provisions of section 17a-566, 17a-587, 17a-588 or 54-56d; (2) when a conservator has been appointed for a conserved person who is subject to an order authorized under subsection (e) of section 17a-543, for the duration of the conserved person's hospitalization; or (3) when a conservator has been appointed for a conserved person subject to an order authorized under section 17a-543a.

      (P.A. 06-195, S. 79; P.A. 07-116, S. 32.)

      History: P.A. 07-116 substituted "conserved person" for "ward".

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      Sec. 19a-580f. Validity of advance directives, appointments of health care agent and powers of attorney for health care decisions executed before October 1, 2006. (a) An advance directive properly executed prior to October 1, 2006, shall have the same legal force and effect as if it had been executed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

      (b) An appointment of health care agent properly executed prior to October 1, 2006, shall have the same legal force and effect as if it had been executed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter in effect at the time of its execution.

      (c) A power of attorney for health care decisions properly executed prior to October 1, 2006, shall have the same power and effect as provided under section 1-55 in effect at the time of its execution.

      (P.A. 06-195, S. 80; P.A. 07-252, S. 21.)

      History: P.A. 07-252 designated existing provisions as Subsec. (a) and added Subsecs. (b) and (c) re legal force and effect of appointments of health care agent and powers of attorney for health care decisions executed before October 1, 2006.

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