Article 3.

Health Care Powers of Attorney.

32A-15. General purpose of this Article.

(a) The General Assembly recognizes as a matter of public policy the fundamental right of an individual to control the decisions relating to his or her medical care, and that this right may be exercised on behalf of the individual by an agent chosen by the individual.

(b) The purpose of this Article is to establish an additional, nonexclusive method for an individual to exercise his or her right to give, withhold, or withdraw consent to medical treatment, including mental health treatment, when the individual lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate health care decisions.

(c) This Article is intended and shall be construed to be consistent with the provisions of Article 23 of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes provided that in the event of a conflict between the provisions of this Article and Article 23 of Chapter 90, the provisions of Article 23 of Chapter 90 control. No conflict between these Chapters exists when either a health care power of attorney or a declaration provides that the declaration is subject to decisions of a health care agent. If no declaration has been executed by the principal as provided in G.S. 90-321 that expressly covers the principal's present condition and if the health care agent has been given the specific authority in a health care power of attorney to authorize the withholding or discontinuing of life-prolonging measures when the principal is in such condition, the measures may be withheld or discontinued as provided in the health care power of attorney upon the direction and under the supervision of the attending physician, as G.S. 90-322 shall not apply in such case. Nothing in this Article shall be construed to authorize any affirmative or deliberate act or omission to end life other than to permit the natural process of dying.

(d) This Article is intended and shall be construed to be consistent with the provisions of Part 3A of Article 16 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes. In the event of a conflict between the provisions of this Article and Part 3A of Article 16 of Chapter 130A, the provisions of Part 3A of Article 16 of Chapter 130A control. (1991, c. 639, s. 1; 1993, c. 523, s. 1; 1998-198, s. 1; 1998-217, s. 53; 2007-502, s. 1; 2008-153, s. 4.)