Allegheny County’s Medical Society and Bar Association Jointly Announce the Availability of Updated Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will Form

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – August 4, 2009.  Officers of the Allegheny County Bar Association and the Allegheny County Medical Society today announced that an updated Advance Health Care Directive is now available to the general public. The document, which was originally published by the two organizations in 1994, is still the only such form in Pennsylvania endorsed by both a medical association and bar association. It contains an updated power of attorney and living will form that reflects recent changes in Pennsylvania law regarding power of attorney and living wills.

The pamphlet and legal/medical document, which was updated by members of the Probate and Trust Section of the bar association and approved by the medical society, is available for the general public to download for free on the bar association’s For The Public website at and on the medical society website at If someone does not have access to a computer he/she can call the bar association at 412-402-6614 for one free copy. Pricing for additional copies can be found on the bar association’s website.

Dr. Douglas Clough, President of the Allegheny County Medical Society, states "This Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will provides a valuable opportunity to individuals to clearly indicate their preferences and wishes concerning possible medical care to their physicians in advance of treatment. This provides valuable guidance to physicians and to family members when critical decisions must be made about a patient's care when they are not able to make those decisions. Thanks to the collaborative work of attorneys and physicians in Allegheny County we are able to make this important document available at no charge so that our residents can address individuals wishes.”

According to Kimberly A. Brown, president of the Allegheny County Bar Association, “We are pleased to again partner with the Medical Society on updating this extremely important document. In recent years, especially due to national stories about the subject of living wills, we have distributed hundreds of thousands of copies of the power of attorney and living will form to Pennsylvania residents.”

In Pennsylvania, residents have the legal and ethical right to make their own decisions about the type of health care they want. “This works fine when you are well enough to make and express those choices,” said Attorney Bob Wolf, who coordinated the update of the form. “But you owe it to yourself and to your family to ensure that your wishes are known and can be carried out even if you are unable to express those wishes because of injury or illness.”

The Advance Health Care Directive pamphlet explains that a person has a right to decide:

  • Who will make these decisions for you
  • When someone can speak for you
  • How those decisions will be made, and
  • What instructions you may wish to give your doctor and your agent about these health care decisions.

The pamphlet also provides answers to health care directive questions and explains how a person can name a heath care agent who will decide treatment for him/her, and give health care treatment instructions and guidance to his/her health care agent and doctor.

Note: The medical society and bar association advise that the pamphlet and forms are not intended to take the place of specific legal or medical advices for which a person should rely upon his/her own physician and attorney.

Chartered in 1870 and headquartered in downtown Pittsburgh, The Allegheny County Bar Association is a professional organization with more than 6,600 member attorneys, judges, magisterial district judges, legal administrators, and paralegals.The association’s website is

The Allegheny County Medical Society, organized in 1865, represents 3,200 physicians in Allegheny County on issues affecting the provision of medical care to patients. The website is

Contacts: Jack Krah
Executive Director
Allegheny County Medical Society
  Kimberly A. Brown, Esquire
Allegheny County Bar Association
Additional Contacts: Tom Loftus
Director of Marketing and Media Relations Allegheny County Bar Association
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