This is not really an opinion post on a highly controversial matter. (I know, wonders will never cease.) But it is an FYI that I think my readers will be especially interested in. Apparently some health care providers are interpreting HIPAA to mean that even parents cannot have information--and therefore will not be able to make informed decisions--about the care of their young adult children who have been injured.
The irony here is that this will mean that the medical facility will simply be free to make whatever decisions it wants about the patient's care without the input of any family member. And the people in the medical facility have no special knowledge of the patient's wishes. This is protection of privacy? I'm not even alleging some sort of deliberate scheme. I think it may be an accident of bureaucracy together with extra-hyper legal worries. But it's bad, either way. According to this piece by Rita Marker (also linked above), even spouses can be cut out of the decision-making process.
The way to insure that this doesn't happen is to sign a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, designating someone to make your decisions when you can't do so yourself, and preferably also a backup in case the first person can't be reached. Suggest to your children eighteen or older that they do so as well. A DPA document does not have to contain any details about treatment preferences. It is not a living will. Some DPA forms have a blank space where the person can indicate his treatment preferences, but it's actually more important to have a substitute decision-maker you trust than to try to spell out every possible hypothetical scenario.