In this chapter:
“Attending physician" means a physician licensed under ch. 448
who has primary responsibility for the treatment and care of the patient.
“Department" means the department of health services.
“Health care professional" means a person licensed, certified or registered under ch. 441
“Inpatient health care facility" has the meaning provided under s. 50.135 (1)
and includes community-based residential facilities, as defined in s. 50.01 (1g)
“Life-sustaining procedure" means any medical procedure or intervention that, in the judgment of the attending physician, would serve only to prolong the dying process but not avert death when applied to a qualified patient. “Life-sustaining procedure" includes assistance in respiration, artificial maintenance of blood pressure and heart rate, blood transfusion, kidney dialysis and other similar procedures, but does not include:
The alleviation of pain by administering medication or by performing any medical procedure.
“Persistent vegetative state" means a condition that reasonable medical judgment finds constitutes complete and irreversible loss of all of the functions of the cerebral cortex and results in a complete, chronic and irreversible cessation of all cognitive functioning and consciousness and a complete lack of behavioral responses that indicate cognitive functioning, although autonomic functions continue.
“Terminal condition" means an incurable condition caused by injury or illness that reasonable medical judgment finds would cause death imminently, so that the application of life-sustaining procedures serves only to postpone the moment of death.
DECLARATION TO PHYSICIANS
In this subchapter:
“Declaration" means a written, witnessed document voluntarily executed by the declarant under s. 154.03 (1)
, but is not limited in form or substance to that provided in s. 154.03 (2)
“Feeding tube" means a medical tube through which nutrition or hydration is administered into the vein, stomach, nose, mouth or other body opening of a qualified patient.
“Qualified patient" means a declarant who has been diagnosed and certified in writing to be afflicted with a terminal condition or to be in a persistent vegetative state by 2 physicians, one of whom is the attending physician, who have personally examined the declarant.
History: 1995 a. 200
Declaration to physicians. 154.03(1)
Any person of sound mind and 18 years of age or older may at any time voluntarily execute a declaration, which shall take effect on the date of execution, authorizing the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures or of feeding tubes when the person is in a terminal condition or is in a persistent vegetative state. A declarant may not authorize the withholding or withdrawal of any medication, life-sustaining procedure or feeding tube if the declarant's attending physician advises that, in his or her professional judgment, the withholding or withdrawal will cause the declarant pain or reduce the declarant's comfort and the pain or discomfort cannot be alleviated through pain relief measures. A declarant may not authorize the withholding or withdrawal of nutrition or hydration that is administered or otherwise received by the declarant through means other than a feeding tube unless the declarant's attending physician advises that, in his or her professional judgment, the administration is medically contraindicated. A declaration must be signed by the declarant in the presence of 2 witnesses. If the declarant is physically unable to sign a declaration, the declaration must be signed in the declarant's name by one of the witnesses or some other person at the declarant's express direction and in his or her presence; such a proxy signing shall either take place or be acknowledged by the declarant in the presence of 2 witnesses. The declarant is responsible for notifying his or her attending physician of the existence of the declaration. An attending physician who is so notified shall make the declaration a part of the declarant's medical records. No witness to the execution of the declaration may, at the time of the execution, be any of the following:
Related to the declarant by blood, marriage or adoption.
Have knowledge that he or she is entitled to or has a claim on any portion of the declarant's estate.
Directly financially responsible for the declarant's health care.
An individual who is a health care provider, as defined in s. 155.01 (7)
, who is serving the declarant at the time of execution, an employee, other than a chaplain or a social worker, of the health care provider or an employee, other than a chaplain or a social worker, of an inpatient health care facility in which the declarant is a patient.
The department shall prepare and provide copies of the declaration and accompanying information for distribution in quantities to health care professionals, hospitals, nursing homes, county clerks and local bar associations and individually to private persons. The department shall include, in information accompanying the declaration, at least the statutory definitions of terms used in the declaration, statutory restrictions on who may be witnesses to a valid declaration, a statement explaining that valid witnesses acting in good faith are statutorily immune from civil or criminal liability, an instruction to potential declarants to read and understand the information before completing the declaration and a statement explaining that an instrument may, but need not be, filed with the register in probate of the declarant's county of residence. The department may charge a reasonable fee for the cost of preparation and distribution. The declaration distributed by the department of health services shall be easy to read, the type size may be no smaller than 10 point, and the declaration shall be in the following form, setting forth on the first page the wording before the ATTENTION statement and setting forth on the 2nd page the ATTENTION statement and remaining wording:
Declaration to physicians
(WISCONSIN LIVING WILL)
I,...., being of sound mind, voluntarily state my desire that my dying not be prolonged under the circumstances specified in this document. Under those circumstances, I direct that I be permitted to die naturally. If I am unable to give directions regarding the use of life-sustaining procedures or feeding tubes, I intend that my family and physician honor this document as the final expression of my legal right to refuse medical or surgical treatment.
1. If I have a TERMINAL CONDITION, as determined by 2 physicians who have personally examined me, I do not want my dying to be artificially prolonged and I do not want life-sustaining procedures to be used. In addition, the following are my directions regarding the use of feeding tubes:
.... YES, I want feeding tubes used if I have a terminal condition.
.... NO, I do not want feeding tubes used if I have a terminal condition.
If you have not checked either box, feeding tubes will be used.
2. If I am in a PERSISTENT VEGETATIVE STATE, as determined by 2 physicians who have personally examined me, the following are my directions regarding the use of life-sustaining procedures:
.... YES, I want life-sustaining procedures used if I am in a persistent vegetative state.
.... NO, I do not want life-sustaining procedures used if I am in a persistent vegetative state.
If you have not checked either box, life-sustaining procedures will be used.
3. If I am in a PERSISTENT VEGETATIVE STATE, as determined by 2 physicians who have personally examined me, the following are my directions regarding the use of feeding tubes:
.... YES, I want feeding tubes used if I am in a persistent vegetative state.
.... NO, I do not want feeding tubes used if I am in a persistent vegetative state.
If you have not checked either box, feeding tubes will be used.
If you are interested in more information about the significant terms used in this document, see section 154.01 of the Wisconsin Statutes or the information accompanying this document.
ATTENTION: You and the 2 witnesses must sign the document at the same time.
Signed .... Date ....
Address .... Date of birth ....
I believe that the person signing this document is of sound mind. I am an adult and am not related to the person signing this document by blood, marriage or adoption. I am not entitled to and do not have a claim on any portion of the person's estate and am not otherwise restricted by law from being a witness.
Witness signature .... Date signed ....
Print name ....
Witness signature .... Date signed ....
Print name ....
DIRECTIVES TO ATTENDING PHYSICIAN
1. This document authorizes the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures or of feeding tubes when 2 physicians, one of whom is the attending physician, have personally examined and certified in writing that the patient has a terminal condition or is in a persistent vegetative state.
2. The choices in this document were made by a competent adult. Under the law, the patient's stated desires must be followed unless you believe that withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining procedures or feeding tubes would cause the patient pain or reduced comfort and that the pain or discomfort cannot be alleviated through pain relief measures. If the patient's stated desires are that life-sustaining procedures or feeding tubes be used, this directive must be followed.
3. If you feel that you cannot comply with this document, you must make a good faith attempt to transfer the patient to another physician who will comply. Refusal or failure to make a good faith attempt to do so constitutes unprofessional conduct.
4. If you know that the patient is pregnant, this document has no effect during her pregnancy.
* * * * *
The person making this living will may use the following space to record the names of those individuals and health care providers to whom he or she has given copies of this document:
Wisconsin statutes provide 3 instruments through which an individual may state healthcare wishes in the event of incapacitation: a “declaration to physicians," a “do-not-resuscitate order," and a “health care power of attorney." These statutory instruments apply under specific circumstances, have their own signature requirements, and may be limited in the extent of authorization they afford. A form will trigger no statutory immunities for healthcare providers when it lacks the features of these statutory documents. A court might conclude, however, that such a form is relevant in discerning a person's intent. OAG 10-14
Living will statutes: The first decade. Gelfand. 1987 WLR 737.
Planning Ahead for Incapacity. Shapiro. Wis. Law. Aug. 1991.
Wisconsin's New Living Will Act. Gilbert. Wis. Law. March 1992.
Revocation of declaration. 154.05(1)
Method of revocation.
A declaration may be revoked at any time by the declarant by any of the following methods:
By being canceled, defaced, obliterated, burned, torn or otherwise destroyed by the declarant or by some person who is directed by the declarant and who acts in the presence of the declarant.
By a written revocation of the declarant expressing the intent to revoke, signed and dated by the declarant.
By a verbal expression by the declarant of his or her intent to revoke the declaration. This revocation becomes effective only if the declarant or a person who is acting on behalf of the declarant notifies the attending physician of the revocation.
(2) Recording the revocation.
The attending physician shall record in the patient's medical record the time, date and place of the revocation and the time, date and place, if different, that he or she was notified of the revocation.
History: 1983 a. 202
; 1995 a. 168
Duties and immunities. 154.07(1)(a)(a)
No physician, inpatient health care facility or health care professional acting under the direction of a physician may be held criminally or civilly liable, or charged with unprofessional conduct, for any of the following:
Participating in the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures or feeding tubes under this subchapter.
Failing to act upon a revocation unless the person or facility has actual knowledge of the revocation.
Failing to comply with a declaration, except that failure by a physician to comply with a declaration of a qualified patient constitutes unprofessional conduct if the physician refuses or fails to make a good faith attempt to transfer the qualified patient to another physician who will comply with the declaration.
No person who acts in good faith as a witness to a declaration under this subchapter may be held civilly or criminally liable for participating in the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures or feeding tubes under this subchapter.
apply to acts or omissions in connection with a provision of a document that is executed in another jurisdiction if the provision is valid and enforceable under s. 154.11 (9)
(2) Effect of declaration.
The desires of a qualified patient who is competent supersede the effect of the declaration at all times. If a qualified patient is adjudicated incompetent at the time of the decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining procedures or feeding tubes, a declaration executed under this subchapter is presumed to be valid. The declaration of a qualified patient who is diagnosed as pregnant by the attending physician has no effect during the course of the qualified patient's pregnancy. For the purposes of this subchapter, a physician or inpatient health care facility may presume in the absence of actual notice to the contrary that a person who executed a declaration was of sound mind at the time.
General provisions. 154.11(1)
The withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures or feeding tubes from a qualified patient under this subchapter does not, for any purpose, constitute suicide. Execution of a declaration under this subchapter does not, for any purpose, constitute attempted suicide.
(2) Life insurance.
Making a declaration under s. 154.03
may not be used to impair in any manner the procurement of any policy of life insurance, and may not be used to modify the terms of an existing policy of life insurance. No policy of life insurance may be impaired in any manner by the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures or feeding tubes from an insured qualified patient.