Missouri Declaration Regarding Death Prolonging Procedures Law


Living Wills – General – Missouri

STATUTORY REFERENCE
ALL REFERENCES ARE TO THE MISSOURI REVISED STATUTES

DECLARATION REGARDING DEATH PROLONGING PROCEDURES
(§§ 459.010 through 459.055)

Selected Definitions
A “death prolonging procedure” is any medical procedure or intervention which, when applied to a patient, would serve only to prolong artificially the dying process and where, in the judgment of the attending physician, death will occur within a short time whether or not such procedure or intervention is utilized. “Death prolonging procedure” does not include the administration of medication or the performance of medical procedure deemed necessary to provide comfort, care or to alleviate pain nor the performance of any procedure to provide nutrition or hydration;

A “declaration” is a document executed in accordance with the requirements of section 459.015;

A “terminal condition” is an incurable or irreversible condition which, in the opinion of the attending physician, is such that death will occur within a short time regardless of the application of medical procedures.

The Declaration
Any competent person may execute a declaration directing the withholding or withdrawal of death prolonging procedures. The declaration must be:

In writing;

Signed by the person making the declaration, or by another person in the declarant’s presence and by the declarant’s expressed direction;

Dated; and

If not wholly in the declarant’s handwriting, signed in the presence of two or more witnesses at least eighteen years of age.  Neither of the witnesses may be the person who signed the declaration on behalf of and at the direction of the person making the declaration.

Form
The statutory form is not required.

Revocation
A declaration may be revoked at any time and in any manner by which the declarant is able to communicate his intent to revoke, without regard to mental or physical condition.

When Declaration in Effect
The directions of a declarant able to make treatment decisions shall at all times supersede The declaration.

The declaration shall be given operative effect only if the declarant’s condition is determined to be terminal and the declarant is not able to make treatment decisions. A physician, health care professional or facility or other person may not act contrary to the declarant’s expressed intent to withhold or withdraw death prolonging procedures without serious reason therefor consistent with the best interest of the declarant.

The declaration to withdraw or withhold treatment by a patient diagnosed as pregnant by the attending physician shall have no effect during the course of the declarant’s pregnancy.

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