Arkansas Advance Directives
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Differences in Advance Directives laws between the states are important to understand. An attorney can help create a directive that will be legal and cover the criteria you wish discussed in Arkansas and other states where it is likely you will receive medical attention. One similarity that Arkansas has with many states regards pregnant patients. In Arkansas, pregnant patients cannot elect to have life-sustaining treatments (such as tube feeding and artificial hydration) withheld despite what directions your Advance Directive might give if it is possible that the fetus will continue to develop to a viable stage. If live birth is still a possibility, doctors in Arkansas will give you these life-sustaining treatments no matter what.
In order to make your Advance Directive legal in Arkansas, you must sign the directive in the presence of two witnesses. These witnesses will also sign the document, affirming that you are of sound mind and that you signed the document voluntarily. In an Advance Directive, you may appoint a Healthcare Proxy: a family member or close friend who will make medical decisions for you if you become unable to do so because you are terminally ill or enter a permanent vegetative state. While Arkansas requires that the Healthcare Proxy be an adult at least 18 years old, there are few other restrictions. Your health care agent can even be an “attorney-in-fact.”
If you wish to you may, at any time, revoke your Advance Directive. Arkansas protocol for this revocation requires that either you or a witness notify your doctor and any other healthcare providers applicable that they should remove the directive from your medical record.
Arkansas has its own laws regarding organ donation. Unless you specify against it in your Advance Directive, your Healthcare Proxy has the ability to donate an organ to you. You can also specify which organs, if any, you wish to donate after your death. Arkansas allows donation to tissue or eye banks, recognized organ procurement organizations, hospitals, accredited medical schools, dental schools, colleges, or universities, or even a particular individual you designate. If you wish to ensure that your organs are not donated after your death, you must specify this in your Advance Directive and have at least two disinterested adults witness the document. Family members or potential recipients of your organs are considered “interested” and cannot be used as witnesses in this case.