Joey, aged 18, went on a ski trip with friends and became ill/injured. Unfortunately, his family did not have Healthcare Power of Attorney.

Joey’s medical mystery is getting under control. The scans and bloodwork indicate that Joey may have a rare ailment that will require Joey to stay in a medically induced coma for a while. On the bright side, there is a cutting edge and promising new treatment that carries some risk and has just left clinical trials. Fortunately, the medical team treating Joey has a physician who has an intense interest in this particular rare disease and knows about the cutting edge treatment.

The risk for the treatment is mainly in older patients, but the clinical results only look moderately good on paper. The hospital legal team wants informed consent for new cutting edge treatments such as this one, both because of liability and because insurers sometimes balk at paying for the newest treatment. Without informed consent, the doctors must choose the most conservative treatment which has only a 40% complete success rate, but does not carry as much risk as the newer treatment that has an 80% success rate for full recovery. The doctors really would like to consult with someone to get informed consent and insurance information. Not all insurance carriers will cover this new treatment and it can be a little expensive.

The doctors hear that Joey’s parents have called, but they are pretty sure that they cannot provide any medical information about Joey without a HIPPA release. Joey can’t give them permission to talk to Joey’s parents. Joey’s parents give the medical team as much information as they can, and the medical team gives Joey the more conservative, but tried and true treatment. They are ethically bound to use only the most reliable treatments without informed consent. Joey’s recovery will be long and arduous, but

Joey will probably return to normal after a couple of years of physical therapy. Joey’s return home is delayed and Joey’s parents have to take turns flying out to visit Joey. Joey’s friends all blame themselves because they weren’t there with Joey when the accident happened. The other children in the family start to resent the attention Joey is getting and money gets really tight with the constant travel and missed work. Eventually Joey is able to come home, but Joey’s grades really suffer and some of the colleges Joey had initially received acceptance to rescind their offers.

Joey is disheartened but keeps attending physical therapy. Eventually Joey is able to enroll in the local community college but Joey needs to work almost full time to pay for college since Joey’s parents careers took a turn for the worse during the months they were flying back and forth to visit Joey in the hospital. There was a big promotion on the line for one of Joey’s parents when the accident occurred and they naturally had to focus on family at a very inconvenient time. Joey’s parents have declared bankruptcy and filed for divorce as a result of the stress related to “the accident.” Unfortunately, Joey’s siblings are losing motivation to study and attend university and want to have a full time job and spending money like Joey.

Joey’s great grandparent of significant means passes away and leaves some money to Joey and the siblings. You had heard that your grandparents were wealthy and grandma had cautioned you to make a plan in case there was an inheritance, but you figured the kids could handle a little money when they got older. You remember that grandma even asked you to go to an attorney and maybe get a trust for the benefit of your kids, but you procrastinated.