I'm sorry about your loss, however each time I've surgery they wanted to know my status of the living will or any papers that I could provide. that is in the state of Illinois.
I'm not sure if that helps you in any way.
I suspect that there are differences from state to state, so you'll want to find out what the laws are that are applicable in your mother's case. It might make a difference, too, if she was hospitalized and passed away in her state of residence, or in another state.
I am also sorry for your loss, Audrey. It's been 30 years since I lost my parents, and I still miss them terribly. It took a while, but I did learn to move on with life, and I believe that I have better learned to lean on God when things are too hard to stand on my own. I will pray for the best outcome for you and your family.
Has the hospital commented about whether or not there was a living will, and/or whether or not her next of kin can obtain it? It would seem to me the most logical thing in all the world, unless her living will somehow forbids its' own disclosure. Once again, I think the laws might vary from one location to another.
Audrey, perhaps I am reading this wrong, but a living will is different than what you are asking about. A living will spells out our wishes as to what medical treatment we would or would not want if we become unable to make that decision for ourselves. (feeding tubes, DNR orders, etc). It also lists someone you designate to make these decisions for you. It is important that everyone have a living will
The will I think you are talking about is the will that determines the estate and final wishes for your mom. this is the one where she might spell out burial decisions, but also include how to dispose of her worldly possessions. If she passed without a will, then the laws of your state will take over and decide what is done with her property/money.
I hope you find the answers you are seeking, Laura
I’m sorry for your loss, and I’m sorry that you are having to go through these issues several months later.
To answer your initial question, according to my partner who is a medical assistant (in Oregon, if the state makes a difference), anything submitted in writing during a medical visit becomes part of the chart, part of the record, whether it's a will, a living will, or a seemingly trivial handwritten note. The hospital or clinic has to follow any instructions unless they are superseded by later instructions, including those from someone who has power of attorney.
You can’t normally access someone else’s medical records, but my partner said she believes that in the case of a dispute about the deceased, you as close family should be able to access those (although it could require legal assistance).