You have legal rights and personal choices concerning treatment options. You should discuss your decisions with family and physicians. It is important that they are aware of your wishes. Please be assured that St. Mary Medical Center honors and respectfully implements all Advanced Directives in accordance with The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care.
Under Pennsylvania law, you have the right to refuse certain types of medical treatment. However, your wishes must be communicated in order to be carried out. Occasionally, life-support treatments become futile. For some, life-supporting activities maintain an unacceptable quality of life and/or serve only to prolong the dying process. It’s important to give serious thought to these issues, and make treatment preferences known ahead of time. You should discuss your healthcare wishes with family and physicians. It is important that they are aware of your choices. If a Power of Attorney or an Advance Directive has been executed, family and physicians should be informed. Changes in your healthcare wishes can be made at any time by notifying your physician and/or family. You should bring a copy of your Advance Directive and/or durable power of attorney to the hospital each time you are admitted.
An Advance Directive is a legal document that states your wishes regarding your medical care should you the patient become incapacitated and be in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious.
A Durable Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document designating a person to make medical and/or financial decisions on your behalf, should you become incapacitated.
In the course of serious illness, especially when a patient's wishes are not known, questions may arise about treatment choices. An Ethics Consult is an opportunity for a patient and/or family members to discuss with physicians, nurses, caregivers and members of St. Mary Medical Center's Ethics Committee the many aspects of these difficult questions before deciding the best course for treatment. For more information about the Ethics Consult Process, call Spiritual Care at 215-710-5902, Social Services at 215-710-2073 or Supportive Care at 215-710-4616.