(a) A competent adult may make decisions regarding life-sustaining treatment and artificially provided nutrition and hydration so long as that individual is able to do so. The desires of an individual shall at all times supersede the effect of an advance directive for health care.
(b) If the individual is not competent at the time of the decision to provide, withhold, or withdraw life-sustaining treatment or artificially provided nutrition and hydration, a living will executed in accordance with Section 22-8A-4(a) or a proxy designation executed in accordance with Section 22-8A-4(b) is presumed to be valid. For the purpose of this chapter, a health care provider may presume in the absence of actual notice to the contrary that an individual who executed an advance directive for health care was competent when it was executed. The fact of an individual's having executed an advance directive for health care shall not be considered as an indication of a declarant's mental incompetency. Advanced age of itself shall not be a bar to a determination of competency.
(c) No physician, licensed health care professional, medical care facility, other health care provider, or any employee thereof who in good faith and pursuant to reasonable medical standards issues or follows a portable physician DNAR order entered in the medical record pursuant to this chapter or causes or participates in the providing, withholding, or withdrawing of life-sustaining treatment or artificially provided nutrition and hydration from a patient pursuant to a living will or designated proxy made in accordance with this chapter or pursuant to the directions of a duly designated surrogate appointed in accordance with this chapter, in the absence of actual knowledge of the revocation thereof, shall, as a result thereof, be subject to criminal or civil liability, or be found to have committed an act of unprofessional conduct.
(d) Any health care provider or health care facility acting within the applicable standard of care who is signing, executing, ordering, or attempting to follow the directives of an Order for PPEL Care in compliance with this chapter shall not be subject to criminal or civil liability and shall not be found to have committed an act of unprofessional conduct. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to establish a standard of care for physicians or otherwise modify, amend, or supersede any provision of the Alabama Medical Liability Act of 1987, the Alabama Medical Liability Act of 1996, or any amendment or judicial interpretation thereof. A health care provider or health care facility that does not know, or could not reasonably know, that a physician's Order for PPEL Care exists may not be civilly or criminally liable for actions taken to assist a qualified minor subject to a physician's Order for PPEL Care.
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