§ 4-1. Purpose. The General Assembly recognizes the right of the individual to control all aspects of his or her personal care and medical treatment, including the right to decline medical treatment or to direct that it be withdrawn, even if death ensues. The right of the individual to decide about personal care overrides the obligation of the physician and other health care providers to render care or to preserve life and health.
However, if the individual becomes a person with a disability, her or his right to control treatment may be denied unless the individual, as principal, can delegate the decision making power to a trusted agent and be sure that the agent's power to make personal and health care decisions for the principal will be effective to the same extent as though made by the principal.
The Illinois statutory recognition of the right of delegation for health care purposes needs to be restated to make it clear that its scope is intended to be as broad as the comparable right of delegation for property and financial matters. However, the General Assembly recognizes that powers concerning life and death and the other issues involved in health care agencies are more sensitive than property matters and that particular rules and forms are necessary for health care agencies to insure their validity and efficacy and to protect health care providers so that they will honor the authority of the agent at all times. For purposes of emphasis and their particular application to health care, the General Assembly restates the purposes and public policy announced in Article II, Section 2-1 of this Act as if those purposes and public policies were set forth verbatim in this Section.
In furtherance of these purposes, the General Assembly adopts this Article, setting forth general principles governing health care agencies and a statutory short form power of attorney for health care, intending that when a power in substantially the form set forth in this Article is used, health care providers and other third parties who rely in good faith on the acts and decisions of the agent within the scope of the power may do so without fear of civil or criminal liability to the principal, the State or any other person. However, the form of health care agency in this Article is not intended to be exclusive and other forms of powers of attorney chosen by the principal that comply with Section 4-5 of this Article may offer powers and protection similar to the statutory short form power of attorney for health care.
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