When your kids go off to college, who will be able to make medical care decisions for them if they are injured? Here’s a story that will make you think.
One estate planning attorney told the Journal about two clients whose college-age children were in car accidents that left them hospitalized and unconscious. Medical officials refused to release “even basic information” to the clients about their sons’ condition until the boys regained consciousness and authorized their doctors to speak to their parents. A third client was forced to sue for the right to become his own daughter’s temporary legal guardian after an accident landed the girl in a coma that lasted weeks.
The medical privacy laws can make it impossible for parents to make critical medical decisons for their children once they become legal adults. The answer is to make sure that the proper forms are signed before they leave, such as Health care proxies and a HIPAA release — which allows doctors to share medical information with designated people.