If you need life-saving treatment in an emergency doctors can treat you even if you cannot consent. In non-emergency situations when you cannot consent your nearest relative can be contacted to consent for you. You may be in a situation where you cannot consent because, for example you are unconscious.
In situations where you need immediate treatment but you are unable to consent, the law implies that you consent to treatment. This allows a health care provider to give you treatment to save your life even without your express consent.
However, if you expressly refuse to give consent, health care providers should not give that treatment, even in an emergency. For example, some individuals wear a medical alert bracelet or carry a wallet card indicating that they do not want to receive certain medical treatments, even in a life-saving emergency situation.
There are also times when a relative can provide consent for you. If you are unconscious or otherwise incapable of consenting to treatment and have not prepared a health care directive, your nearest relative may consent on your behalf. Your nearest relative is determined in the following order and includes relatives by adoption...
PLEA can provide you with information to help you understand many legal matters you, a family member or friend may be facing.