In this article in celebration For the month of October, we will explore the vital connection between breast cancer and advance directives, which serve as tools essential to safeguard the right of an individual to make decisions about your medical care,even when they cannot express their preferences due to their health condition.
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Breast cancer remains a prevalent concern affecting countless women around the world. In general terms, an average annual reduction of 1.6% was observed in mortality rates from breast cancer, going from 26.6 per 100,000 women in 1999 to 19.1 per 100,000 women in 2020. Between 1999 and 2002, There was an average annual decrease of 1.3% in the mortality rate from breast cancer.
Understanding Advance Directives
Advance directives are crucial legal documents thatThey allow people to outline their medical preferences in advance.These directives are especially important when someone is faced with a situation in which they cannot express their medical options.
Whether a person is in good health, suffering from an illness, or facing the possibility of losing the ability to make decisions, advance directivesThey give them the power to declare, in a conscious and informed manner, their preferences regarding medical treatments. These preferences come into effect when the individual is unable to communicate their wishes due to adverse health conditions.
In our country, the right to create advance directives was established for the first time throughLaw 68 on November 20, 2003. This law regulates the rights and responsibilities of patients, especially with regard to making informed decisions in medical care. Later, it was refined through the DecreeExecutive No. 1458 on November 6, 2012.
The Content and Limitations of Advance Directives
Advance directives mustbe explicit and precise, guaranteeing clarity and consistency.By legal mandate, this expression of will must contain theexpression of the year, month and day in which it is granted and in detail, these documents must include:
- Personal Decisions:Instructions related to end-of-life scenarios or situations involving severe physical and mental limitations.
- Healthy conditions: Specific healthcare situations to consider, such as accepting or rejecting certain treatments or care, especially in chronic diseases where the probabilities of progression are known.
- Medical Actions:Instructions on whether to apply or refrain from specific medical procedures, including cardiopulmonary support, dialysis, use of ventilators, artificial nutrition, and hydration.
- Appointment of a Representative:The appointment of a representative to act as a valid and necessary intermediary to interpret and carry out instructions when the patient is unable to communicate with the medical team.
For example, a person may specify in advance that they wish to receive medications necessary to minimize discomfort, psychological suffering, and physical pain in certain circumstances. Alternatively, they may state that regardless of the decision made, they should receive high-quality care to ensure a peaceful passing.
Advance directives serve their purpose when a person is in a situation whereno can freely express their will due to their health circumstances. These directives reflect recognition of the autonomy of the individual and their expressed will, a fundamental right under the law. However, this autonomy has limitations.
The instructions They cannot contravene the legal framework, good clinical practice, the best available scientific evidence or the specific scenario envisaged when the directives were issued.medical professionals They are required to record these instructions in the patient’s medical record and follow legal requirements. The law allows patients to act through a representative,who ensures that the patient’s interests are taken into account in decision making.
Revocable and Modifiable
advance directivesThey are not immutable. They can be modified or revoked as long as the same procedures used for their creation are followed.Hospitals are responsibleto implement the necessary measures to ensure that the patient’s advance directive is integrated into his or her medical record.
Although the law does not explicitly mention euthanasia, it is advisable to consider any advance directive that implies support for euthanasia in a country where it is not legalized null and void. Medical professionals, when faced with such a challenge, may claim their inability to follow these instructionsand must prioritize the best interests of their patients within the framework of established medical standards.
The Role of a Notary in Formalization
The formalization of advance directives follows specific legal requirements. Anyoneolder than 18 years-old, or over 16 in some cases, can create advance directives. They can choose to do sobefore a notary or in the presence ofthree adult witnesseswith full legal capacity. The participation of a notary is intended to provide public guarantees about the authenticity of the document, given its significant implication.
However, the notarization requirement raises concerns about unnecessary costs, as notarization often carries fees. This contrasts with ethe consent process, which is usually free. It is essential to consider how these formalities can potentially hinder autonomous decision-making.
In conclusion, advance directives are a valuable tool for people to make informed decisions about their health care, even when they cannot communicate their preferences. While the legal requirements for advance directives are intended to ensure their validity and authenticity, they can introduce unnecessary complexities and expenses. It is essential to find a balance between protecting a person’s right to make health care decisions and the practicalities of carrying out these directives.