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Lawyers Provide Free Assistance at 15 Hospitals for National Health Care Decisions Day
Date:4/8/2009

NEW YORK, April 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- LegalHealth, a division of the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), announced today that it will provide free legal assistance to New Yorkers wanting to leave instructions for doctors describing the kind of medical treatment they want in the event they become incapacitated. LegalHealth will host health care planning tables at fifteen hospital sites throughout the city in recognition of National Health Care Decisions Day on April 16th.

Julie Brandfield, Associate Director of LegalHealth, explained, "Many people do not understand that, if you become unable to communicate your medical wishes, your family or friends may not be allowed to make health decisions for you. It is important to make those decisions known in advance through simple but legal documents. Throughout the year, and with a special focus on April 16th, LegalHealth is available to provide both the forms and legal assistance in helping people be prepared in times of medical crisis."

LegalHealth attorneys, paralegals, and legal interns will assist anyone over the age of 18 to designate a health care proxy who can make medical decisions and to prepare a "living will" specifying what care is desired and what is not. Advocates will also assist members of the general public register "advance directives" with the U.S. Living Will Registry, an online service through which hospitals and doctors have immediate, 24-hour access to these documents in an emergency.

Working jointly with NYLAG's Total Life Choices program in promoting the citywide effort, LegalHealth will set up tables at the following locations:

Bellevue Hospital, at 462 First Avenue, Tuesday, April 28, 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Beth Israel Medical Center, at 10 Union Square East, Thursday, April 16, 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Community Health Center of Richmond (Staten Island), at 235 Port Richmond Ave
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SOURCE New York Legal Assistance Group
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