(a) In addition to such other persons as may be authorized and empowered, any one of the following persons is authorized and empowered to consent, either orally or otherwise, to any surgical or medical treatment or procedures not prohibited by law which may be suggested, recommended, prescribed, or directed by a duly licensed physician:
(1) Any adult, for himself or herself, whether by living will, advance directive for health care, or otherwise;
(1.1) Any person authorized to give such consent for the adult under an advance directive for health care or durable power of attorney for health care under Chapter 32 of this title;
(2) In the absence or unavailability of a person authorized pursuant to paragraph (1.1) of this subsection, any married person for his or her spouse;
(3) In the absence or unavailability of a living spouse, any parent, whether an adult or a minor, for his or her minor child;
(4) Any person temporarily standing in loco parentis, whether formally serving or not, for the minor under his or her care; and any guardian, for his or her ward;
(5) Any female, regardless of age or marital status, for herself when given in connection with pregnancy, or the prevention thereof, or childbirth;
(6) Upon the inability of any adult to consent for himself or herself and in the absence of any person to consent under paragraphs (1.1) through (5) of this subsection, the following persons in the following order of priority:
(A) Any adult child for his or her parents;
(B) Any parent for his or her adult child;
(C) Any adult for his or her brother or sister;
(D) Any grandparent for his or her grandchild;
(E) Any adult grandchild for his or her grandparent; or
(F) Any adult niece, nephew, aunt, or uncle of the patient who is related to the patient in the first degree; or
(7) Upon the inability of any adult to consent for himself or herself and in the absence of any person to consent under paragraphs (1.1) through (6) of this subsection, an adult friend of the patient. For purposes of this paragraph, “adult friend” means an adult who has exhibited special care and concern for the patient, who is generally familiar with the patient's health care views and desires, and who is willing and able to become involved in the patient's health care decisions and to act in the patient's best interest. The adult friend shall sign and date an acknowledgment form provided by the hospital or other health care facility in which the patient is located for placement in the patient's records certifying that he or she meets such criteria.
(a.1) In the absence, after reasonable inquiry, of any person authorized in subsection (a) of this Code section to consent for the patient, a hospital or other health care facility or any interested person may initiate proceedings for expedited judicial intervention to appoint a temporary medical consent guardian pursuant to Code Section 29-4-18 .
(b) Any person authorized and empowered to consent under subsection (a) of this Code section shall, after being informed of the provisions of this Code section, act in good faith to consent to surgical or medical treatment or procedures which the patient would have wanted had the patient understood the circumstances under which such treatment or procedures are provided. The person who consents on behalf of the patient in accordance with subsection (a) of this Code section shall have the right to visit the patient in accordance with the hospital or health care facility's visitation policy.
(c) For purposes of this Code section, the term “inability of any adult to consent for himself or herself” means a determination in the medical record by a licensed physician after the physician has personally examined the adult that the adult “lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make significant responsible decisions” regarding his or her medical treatment or the ability to communicate by any means such decisions.
(d)(1) No hospital or other health care facility, health care provider, or other person or entity shall be subject to civil or criminal liability or discipline for unprofessional conduct solely for relying in good faith on any direction or decision by any person reasonably believed to be authorized and empowered to consent under subsection (a) of this Code section even if death or injury to the patient ensues. Each hospital or other health care facility, health care provider, and any other person or entity who acts in good faith reliance on any such direction or decision shall be protected and released to the same extent as though such person had interacted directly with the patient as a fully competent person.
(2) No person authorized and empowered to consent under subsection (a) of this Code section who, in good faith, acts with due care for the benefit of the patient, or who fails to act, shall be subject to civil or criminal liability for such action or inaction.
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