State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_90 > GS_90-322

§ 90‑322.  Proceduresfor natural death in the absence of a declaration.

(a)        If the attendingphysician determines, to a high degree of medical certainty, that a personlacks capacity to make or communicate health care decisions and the person willnever regain that capacity, and:

(1)        Repealed by SessionLaws 2007‑502, s. 12, effective October 1, 2007.

(1a)      That the person:

a.         Has an incurable orirreversible condition that will result in the person's death within arelatively short period of time; or

b.         Is unconscious and,to a high degree of medical certainty, will never regain consciousness; and

(2)        There isconfirmation of the person's present condition as set out above in thissubsection, in writing by a physician other than the attending physician; and

(3)        A vital bodilyfunction of the person could be restored or is being sustained by life‑prolongingmeasures;

(4)        Repealed by SessionLaws 2007‑502, s. 12, effective October 1, 2007.

then, life‑prolongingmeasures may be withheld or discontinued in accordance with subsection (b) ofthis section.

(b)        If a person'scondition has been determined to meet the conditions set forth in subsection(a) of this section and no instrument has been executed as provided in G.S. 90‑321,then life‑prolonging measures may be withheld or discontinued upon thedirection and under the supervision of the attending physician with theconcurrence of the following persons, in the order indicated:

(1)        A guardian of thepatient's person, or a general guardian with powers over the patient's person,appointed by a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to Article 5 of Chapter35A of the General Statutes; provided that, if the patient has a health careagent appointed pursuant to a valid health care power of attorney, the healthcare agent shall have the right to exercise the authority to the extent grantedin the health care power of attorney and to the extent provided in G.S. 32A‑19(b)unless the Clerk has suspended the authority of that health care agent inaccordance with G.S. 35A‑1208(a);

(2)        A health care agentappointed pursuant to a valid health care power of attorney, to the extent ofthe authority granted;

(3)        An attorney‑in‑fact,with powers to make health care decisions for the patient, appointed by thepatient pursuant to Article 1 or Article 2 of Chapter 32A of the GeneralStatutes, to the extent of the authority granted;

(4)        The patient'sspouse;

(5)        A majority of thepatient's reasonably available parents and children who are at least 18 yearsof age;

(6)        A majority of thepatient's reasonably available siblings who are at least 18 years of age; or

(7)        An individual whohas an established relationship with the patient, who is acting in good faithon behalf of the patient, and who can reliably convey the patient's wishes.

If none of the above isreasonably available then at the discretion of the attending physician the life‑prolongingmeasures may be withheld or discontinued upon the direction and under thesupervision of the attending physician.

(c)        Repealed by SessionLaws 1979, c. 715, s. 2.

(d)        The withholding ordiscontinuance of such life‑prolonging measures shall not be consideredthe cause of death for any civil or criminal purpose nor shall it be consideredunprofessional conduct. Any person, institution or facility against whomcriminal or civil liability is asserted because of conduct in compliance withthis section may interpose this section as a defense. (1977, c. 815; 1979, c. 715,s. 2; 1981, c. 848, s. 5; 1983, c. 313, ss. 2‑4; c. 768, s. 5.1; 1991, c.639, s. 4; 1993, c. 553, s. 29; 2007‑502, s. 12.)