2017 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 24 - Health and Safety
Article 7A - Uniform Health-Care Decisions
Section 24-7A-5 - Decisions by surrogate.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 24-7A-5 (2017)

24-7A-5. Decisions by surrogate.

A. A surrogate may make a health-care decision for a patient who is an adult or emancipated minor if the patient has been determined according to the provisions of Section 24-7A-11 NMSA 1978 to lack capacity and no agent or guardian has been appointed or the agent or guardian is not reasonably available.

B. An adult or emancipated minor, while having capacity, may designate any individual to act as surrogate by personally informing the supervising health-care provider. In the absence of a designation or if the designee is not reasonably available, any member of the following classes of the patient's family who is reasonably available, in descending order of priority, may act as surrogate:

(1) the spouse, unless legally separated or unless there is a pending petition for annulment, divorce, dissolution of marriage or legal separation;

(2) an individual in a long-term relationship of indefinite duration with the patient in which the individual has demonstrated an actual commitment to the patient similar to the commitment of a spouse and in which the individual and the patient consider themselves to be responsible for each other's well-being;

(3) an adult child;

(4) a parent;

(5) an adult brother or sister; or

(6) a grandparent.

C. If none of the individuals eligible to act as surrogate under Subsection B of this section is reasonably available, an adult who has exhibited special care and concern for the patient, who is familiar with the patient's personal values and who is reasonably available may act as surrogate.

D. A surrogate shall communicate his assumption of authority as promptly as practicable to the patient, to members of the patient's family specified in Subsection B of this section who can be readily contacted and to the supervising health-care provider.

E. If more than one member of a class assumes authority to act as surrogate and they do not agree on a health-care decision and the supervising health-care provider is so informed, the supervising health-care provider shall comply with the decision of a majority of the members of that class who have communicated their views to the provider. If the class is evenly divided concerning the health-care decision and the supervising health-care provider is so informed, that class and all individuals having lower priority are disqualified from making the decision.

F. A surrogate shall make a health-care decision in accordance with the patient's individual instructions, if any, and other wishes to the extent known to the surrogate. Otherwise, the surrogate shall make the decision in accordance with the surrogate's determination of the patient's best interest. In determining the patient's best interest, the surrogate shall consider the patient's personal values to the extent known to the surrogate.

G. A health-care decision made by a surrogate for a patient shall not be made solely on the basis of the patient's pre-existing physical or medical condition or pre-existing or projected disability.

H. A health-care decision made by a surrogate for a patient is effective without judicial approval.

I. A patient, at any time, may disqualify any person, including a member of the patient's family, from acting as the patient's surrogate by a signed writing or by personally informing a health-care provider of the disqualification. A health-care provider who is informed by the patient of a disqualification shall promptly communicate the fact of disqualification to the supervising health-care provider and to any health-care institution at which the patient is receiving care.

J. Unless related to the patient by blood, marriage or adoption, a surrogate may not be an owner, operator or employee of a health-care institution at which the patient is receiving care.

K. A supervising health-care provider may require an individual claiming the right to act as surrogate for a patient to provide a written declaration under penalty of perjury stating facts and circumstances reasonably sufficient to establish the claimed authority.

History: Laws 1995, ch. 182, 5; 1997, ch. 168, 4.

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