County Attorney Press Releases

Local Organizations Unite To Promote The Use Of Living Wills

Attorneys will offer free legal advice on Advance Directives at 6 locations throughout the city

On Thursday April 16, 2009, County employees will gather at La Fe's Cultural and Technology Center at 721 South Ochoa Rear, to participate in a ceremony where they will publicly sign their personal Medical Power of Attorney and Directive to Physician, Family and Surrogates forms. The ceremony is part of an effort by the County Attorney's Office, the University Medical Center of El Paso, El Paso County Hospital District, and La Fe Clinic, to promote the use of advance directives among El Paso residents.

Advance Directives allow individuals to state what they want for their own medical care in the event that they are unable to make decisions for themselves. Individuals can:

  • Direct that a specific procedure or treatment be provided, such as
    artificially administered hydration (fluids) or nutrition (feeding);
  • Direct that a specific procedure or treatment be withheld; or
  • Appoint a person to act as your agent in making health care
    decisions for you, if it is determined that you are unable to make
    health care decisions for yourself. This includes the decision
    to make anatomical gifts of a specific part or parts of your body via
    organ and tissue donation, or of all of your body.

Advance Directives have been historically underutilized in El Paso, and particularly by minorities, including Hispanics, because of their cultural attitudes towards end-of-life issues. According to a study by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, many Hispanics view pain and suffering as a test of faith. There is an acceptance of "what is" and a belief that "miracles happen". This view sometimes interferes with pain management. It most certainly complicates any discussion on advance directives. The most striking indication of the challenges in communication about end-of-life issues is the insistence by both the Hispanic elders and the Hispanic adult children that their children/parents do not want to have discussions about death and how to prepare to face its consequences.

The campaign to promote the utilization of Advance Directives in El Paso will kick-off with a ‘signing' ceremony at La Fe's Cultural and Technology Center at 721 South Ochoa Rear, on Thursday April 16, 2009 at 2:00 p.m..

Local attorneys will be available to offer similar free legal advice on Thursday April 16, 2009 from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m at the following locations:

  1. La Fe Cultural and Technology Center 721 South Ochoa (rear)
  2. EPPD Northeast Regional Command Center, 9600 Dyer St.
  3. Multipurpose Recreation Center, 9031 Viscount Boulevard
  4. Galatzan Recreation Center, 650 Wallenberg Dr.
  5. Thomason Hospital, 4815 Alameda Ave
  6. Centro San Vicente Clinic, 8061 Alameda Ave.

WHO:       El Paso County Attorney

WHAT:     Public signing of Living Wills and Medical Power of  Attorney

WHEN:     Thursday April 16 at 2:00 p.m.

WHERE:  La Fe's Cultural and Technology Center at 721 South Ochoa Rear

Healthcare Decisions Day Press Release.pdf