Elder has Power of Attny for my Mother

by limbogirl 23 Replies latest jw friends

  • limbogirl

    My witness mother has a rare form of leukemia -- fortunately she is doing well and it hasn't been an issue yet. She notified me some time ago that she had completed forms to make one of the elders at her KH her power of attorney in the event that she required medical treatment. She told me that she did this to relieve me and my siblings of having to make difficult decisions for her at that time -- meaning authorizing blood. The elder in question is part of the HLC (hopefully I have the acronymn correct). At the time that she told me this I accepted it and agreed with her that I wouldn't want to be put in that position because I would indeed authorize blood. However, the more I think about it the more it angers me that some elder at her CHURCH (because that indeed is what the KH is) will be able to have that kind of authority instead of family members (her very children) who love her unconditionally and have nothing but her best interest at heart. I've gone through the scenario in my mind many times of what would happen and I don't know if I can just stand by and allow this. So, to my question....does anyone know or have an opinion on whether a court of law would overturn the power of attorney if requested to do so by one's immediate family? She would probably disown me for saving her life or attempting to but I'll deal with that later.


    Of course, maybe one of the lawyers that post here may have a different viewpoint...but if she has a legal power of attorney document, I don't think there is anything you can do to overturn it. That's the reason she had it done while she was still in fairly good health, so that that issue could not be raised later on. She is definately making sure that her wishes are upheld regarding blood. Is it a medical power of attorney only? I hope she isn't giving them power for all her worldly goods!


  • jgnat

    I guess you could legally protest that but you would have to show that either

    • she was coerced in to signing over her rights


    • she was not of sound mind when she signed over her rights.

    I think a kinder, more effective approach is to have some discussions with your mother about her views about blood, EVERYTHING, now, while she is alive. You may in the end choose to accept her decision once you are satisifed she has thought through all the consequences. I find too many JW's avoid the subject completely, hoping for a last-minute miracle. What you need to find out is if your mom's FIRM CONVICTION is that she would not accept blood (and what of fractions? get it all spelled out), meaning that she might not see her grandchildren grown and married off.

  • Emma

    I think that family has priority at least in some states. You could probably check with a local hospital.


  • GoingGoingGone

    I don't know for sure, but from what I've seen, any adult who is mentally competent can make whatever decisions they want to for themselves, and they will be respected by the courts. In other words, your mother's choice of giving an elder as her power of attorney will stand up in court.

    That being said, if the elder has been given the right to make health care choices for her, then he can make ALL her health care choices when she no longer can do so herself... including deciding when and if to terminate life support, if that should become an issue. Is your mother aware of this? Health care is about so much more than just blood. You would think that she would want her family to make such important choices, not a member of her 'church'.

    Just a thought.


  • undercover

    It's a shame that this stuff happens all because of religion.

    It sounds like you have some time to maybe convince your mom to let the family have power of attorney. As swalker pointed out, hopefully its just a medical power of attorney and not a full blown one.

    Maybe if you agreed to abide by her medical wishes, even though it goes against what you personally believe, you can mend the fence and get the power of attorney to a family member.

    While the blood issue can be a divisive issue between JWs and non-JW family members, I think its important that we remember that it is their decision, no matter how ill-informed it is(adults only). You don't have to like it, you don't have to abide by it yourself, but since a parent is an adult, if they have their full mental capacities, it should be their decision. If we agree to abide by their wishes we can circumvent the parent from giving too much power to elders.

  • outoftheorg

    Have you been following the posts on this forum about the young lawyer who has stired the wbts by her thesis on the misrepresentation of secular information regarding the blood issue in the teachings about blood transfusions?? This takes the issue out of the religious relm and into the truth or lies about medical responses to blood transfusions that jw's are taught to believe. If I were you I would bring this to a known good attorney and get their response to your situation. Outoftheorg

  • nsrn

    (First time poster, long time lurker)

    I went through this same thing a couple years ago with my witness parents, both in their 80's. They had appointed an elder (who is also a cousin by marriage) as their durable healthcare representative. I was SO upset that it took a few days to even reapproach the subject. I am a nurse, very active in my parents' healthcare, and the idea of giving up control of their health care decisions to that equally elderly man was unbelievable.

    My parents, too, explained that they were trying to avoid putting me in the potentially painful spot of making a blood related decision for them. (Obviously the reply taught from the podium.) They did NOT know the difference between 'power of attorney' and 'durable healthcare representative' or what an advance directive meant. They did NOT realize they were giving him complete power to decide ANY healthcare related decision in the event they could not speak for themselves. The example I gave them was, "What if you have a stroke, and may very well need a feeding tube until it is determined that you can swallow safely again? Have you talked about your wishes? Do you trust him to know what you want? Do you realize he would name your nursing home, your doctor; even control whether you can have visitors?!?!?!? This is so much more than just an issue of blood!"

    Then I asked, "Did you not trust me to honor your wishes? That out of respect for your decisions, I would ever dream of going against you?" Now, you would think I would have had sense enough to stop there. After all, I was already upset. But I had to ask it! "What if it were the other way around? If I were sick, would you honor MY wishes?" Of course, my Mom said, "I could NEVER let you have blood!"

    Well, we later had a long sit down about "advanced directives": my parents' wishes about feeding tubes, ventilators, pain control, and blood fractions (no one was more confused than I was, but I tried to keep it all straight). They retrieved the copies of the advance directives with the elder's name on it, and they filled out new ones. And it was a good thing, too, since Mom promptly had a stroke, and then a bleeding ulcer! And Dad with multiple myeloma.

    Not to drone on, but here's a little background: raised a 3rd generation witness, Dad an elder, never baptized, college scholarship, married young, long search for something missing, found it in a little local church. Now grey headed.

    I love the boards! It used to be such a lonely thing--how wonderful to know I didn't imagine all that childhood stress!!!

  • 95stormfront

    I'm aware of the new blood cards that came out last year that includes a medical POA or something else effectively giving elders and HLC member access to medical records should they see fit to inspect them and I've been waiting for my wife to either show it to me or ask me to sign it.

    My wife knows that I'm not a strong suppporter of WT theology but, I know one thing.....If she intends upon giving them that kind of supercedence authority over me then she'd damn well better have them expect the bills to be coming their way when they're sent. They can also take over the expenses of her medical insurance and monthly cocktail of drug prescriptions.

    I won't pay "one red cent".

    No way am I gonna let them get away with enjoying that kind of authority without the financial responsibility that goes with it.

  • GoingGoingGone

    Welcome, nsrn!


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