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Advance Directives

Making healthcare decisions is an important right for patients and their families.

Every adult of sound mind has the right to decide what may be done to his or her body in the course of medical treatment. As a patient, you have the right to be told about the nature of your condition, the general nature of proposed treatment, the risks of not undergoing the treatment and alternate procedures available.

To help with this process, the state of Texas has enacted three laws:

  • The first, the Medical Power of Attorney for Health Care, lets you appoint someone to make health care decisions for you when you cannot make them for yourself. It allows the patient's substitute to give or withhold consent to any medical treatment.
  • The second, the Directive to Physicians (Living Will), lets you specify what treatments you would not want for an incurable or irreversible illness. It allows you to "speak directly" to your physician, even after you cannot speak. A living will applies only to life-sustaining (extraordinary) procedures, and then only in situations involving an incurable or irreversible condition.
  • The third, the Mental Health Directive allows you to tell the hospital what kind of mental health treatment you want in the event you become incapacitated.
  • The Out-of-Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate program allows people to decide that they do not want to be resuscitated if they stop breathing and their heart stops beating. The program allows people to declare that certain resuscitative measures will not be used on them. Those resuscitative measures specifically listed in the OOH DNR legislation are cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), advanced airway management, defibrillation, artificial ventilations and transcutaneous cardiac pacing.

    OOH DNR forms can be ordered from the Texas Medical Association or downloaded from the web. You can contact TMA at:

    Texas Medical Association
    ATTN: DNR form
    401 West 15th Street
    Austin, Texas 78701-1680
    (512) 370-1306 -- Recorded information concerning the prices of the DNR form and bracelets.

    Learn more on the Texas Department of State Health Services website.

    Contact Information

    Patient Advocate:      phone at 817-551-2495 or e-mail at