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.

Recommended for you