Living Wills – General – Colorado
ALL REFERENCES ARE TO THE COLORADO REVISED STATUTES
COLORADO MEDICAL TREATMENT DECISIONS ACT
(§§ 15-18-101 through 15-18-104)
An “adult” is any person eighteen years of age or older.
“Artificial nourishment” is nourishment supplied through a tube inserted into the stomach or intestines or nutrients injected intravenously into the bloodstream.
A “declarant” means a mentally competent adult who executes a declaration.
A “declaration” is a written document voluntarily executed by a declarant in accordance with the requirements of §15-18-104.
A “life sustaining procedure” is any medical procedure or intervention that, if administered to a qualified patient, would serve only to prolong the dying process. “Life sustaining procedure” shall not include any medical procedure or intervention for nourishment of the qualified patient or considered necessary by the attending physician to provide comfort or alleviate pain.
A “qualified patient” is a patient who has executed a declaration and who has been certified by the attending physician and one other physician to be in a terminal condition.
A “terminal condition” is an incurable or irreversible condition for which the administration of life sustaining procedures will serve only to postpone the moment of death.
Any competent adult may execute a declaration directing that life sustaining procedures be withheld or withdrawn if, at some future time, he is in a terminal condition and either unconscious or otherwise incompetent to decide whether any medical procedure or intervention should be accepted or rejected. It is the responsibility of the declarant or someone acting for him to submit the declaration to the attending physician for entry in the declarant’s medical record.
In the case of a declaration of a qualified patient known to the attending physician to be pregnant, a medical evaluation must be made as to whether the fetus is viable and could with a reasonable degree of medical certainty develop to live birth with continued application of life sustaining procedures. If such is the case, the declaration is given no force or effect.
Notwithstanding the provisions of a declaration, when an attending physician has determined that pain results from a discontinuance of artificial nourishment, he may order that such nourishment be provided but only to the extent necessary to provide comfort and alleviate pain.
A declaration executed before two witnesses by any competent adult is legally effective. The statutory form is not required.
In the event that the declarant is physically unable to sign the declaration, it may be signed by some other person in the declarant’s presence and at his direction. A person so signing may not be:
The attending physician or any other physician; or
An employee of the attending physician or health care facility in which the declarant is a patient; or
A person who has a claim against any portion of the estate of the declarant at his death at the time the declaration is signed; or
A person who knows or believes that he is entitled to any portion of the estate of the declarant upon his death either as a beneficiary of a will in existence at the time the declaration is signed or as an heir at law.
A declaration must be signed by the declarant in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses may not be any person set out above.
If the declarant is a patient or resident of a health care facility, no witness can be a patient of that facility.
A declaration may be revoked by the declarant orally, in writing, or by burning, tearing, canceling, obliterating, or destroying said declaration.
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