AZ lawmakers working to make it easier for doctors to obey dying wishes

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

At 78 years of age, Muriel McDonald is in pretty good health. But the Phoenix grandmother knows that can change.

McDonald has set up a will, power of attorney and health care directive should anything happen to her.

"In case of emergency, it's good to have that information available, because it can be a life and death decision," she said.

The state of Arizona has a registry of advanced directives at https://www.azsos.gov/services/advance-directives.

It's a website where people can record their living wills and name individuals to make health care decisions for them.

The only problem is, if you end up alone in the emergency room - doctors there won't know your dying wishes and could put you on life support, even if that's not what you wanted.

State lawmakers are looking to change that.

House Bill 2076 would direct the Arizona Secretary of State's office to establish a process so health-care providers could access the advanced directives registry, to ensure a patient's dying wishes are being followed.

 Dr. Jason Brown with Banner Health said that better access to patient's medical records will be extremely helpful.

 "It's about respecting their wishes and providing the right kind of care they want to receive," said Brown. "Having those documents as readily available as possible will ensure that patient gets the care they wish to receive."

Some visitors at Phoenix's Devonshire Senior Center said that health care directives don't do any good if doctors don't see them.

"What's the purpose of that information if it's not to be used in the case of a medical emergency?" said Barry Stein. "There's no other reason to have that information available."

HB 2076 was approved unanimously in the House and now moves on to the state Senate.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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