Chayim Aruchim, a project of Agudath Israel of America, urges everyone over 18 to complete and have an advance medical directive to ensure that if someone needs medical treatment and cannot make decisions for themselves, that medical decisions will be made in accordance with halacha.

Rabbi Gedaliah Weinberger, Chairman of Chayim Aruchim said, “There have been many cases in which not having an advance medical directive has resulted in a dispute within a family as to what medical treatment to provide a patient, or disputes with a medical facility as to what care should be provided to a patient”.

Rivie Schwebel, Vice Chairman of Chayim Aruchim said, “An advance medical directive provides a clear statement of a patient’s wishes, and can avoid inter-family disputes and in many cases help avoid disputes with medical facilities”. The advance medical directive can be obtained by going to and clicking on “Medical Directives”.

All states have laws that provide for individuals to execute an advance medical directive. Having an advance care directive is not a guarantee that the patient’s wishes will be followed, but it does provide the patient’s designated health care agent or proxy with a document that can help them if a dispute within a family or with a medical facility should arise.

Members of our community who live in or plan to seek medical treatment in Texas should be aware that Texas has a law that states that even if a patient or the person responsible for making health care decisions for the patient is requesting life-sustaining treatment, if the patient’s attending physician has decided that such treatment is not appropriate and the ethics committee of the health facility has affirmed that opinion, if the patient is not transferred to another facility that will provide the requested treatment, the facility has the legal right to withdraw life-sustaining treatment 10 days after the physician’s decision has been provided in writing to the patient or the patient’s health care representative.

Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, President of Chayim Aruchim said, “If your relative is a patient in a hospital in Texas, it is very important to have a Halachic medical directive to designate who the patient wants making medical decisions for them, and having such a directive will give the patient’s health care decision maker a legal basis for advocating for the care the patient.”