[ExI] Medical power of attorney for cryonicsts

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Thu Dec 4 17:23:10 UTC 2014

Ben <bbenzai at yahoo.com> , 3/12/2014 7:51 PM:
Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote: 
 >If anybody has any comments, please do comment here, I intend to finalize 
 >the PoA documents soon and advice is welcome: Do you think these 
 >instructions are OK? Is there anything you would formulate differently or 
I do have comments.  Did a lawyer take money to draft this for you? 
I'd be (pleasantly) surprised if this has anything but the most trivial  
legal force.  My understanding is that if the gubmint want you  
autopsied, and you don't, you get autopsied, end of argument. 

Now, gubmints seem to be a particular American problem - some kind of wild monsters roaming the countryside doing whatever they want. In the rest of the world we have governments. Potentially as dangerous (some are pretty feral), but usually bound by the rules of their own laws - and they are mindless, with multiple internal goals. People regularly win court cases against their governments. More importantly, waving the right piece of paper at a government often makes it back down, since the small part you are interacting with does not want to get into a bureaucratic struggle - most bureaucrats prefer things to be easy.

I kind of doubt that government ownership of our bodies is something  
that can be wished away in writing like this, not for a while yet, anyway. 

Depends on how you play it legally. In the case of advance medical directives the issue is more what doctors do rather than lawyers.

In this case the severe global brain dysfunction euthanasia issue might be legally tricky in some jurisdictions, but a doctor could easily claim that in his professional opinion that the severe dysfunction made recovery so unlikely that further treatment was not in the patients best interest. It is a set of instructions and stated preferences that are only weakly legally binding, but can be fairly powerful in terms of what people do. How strong it is depends a bit on what doctors and representatives are involved.

Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University
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