Any person who is acting as a surrogate (either named or, in default, granted a priority) “shall base those decisions on the wishes of the patient and, if the wishes of the patient are unknown or unclear, on the patient’s best interest.” A determination as to what is in the “best interests” of the patient is only made if the patient’s own wishes are unknown or unclear. A patient’s wishes need not be in written form. In determining the wishes of the patient, the surrogate is to consider the following:
1.         The current diagnosis and prognosis; 2.         Any expressed preferences regarding treatment options; 3.         Relevant religious and moral beliefs and personal values; 4.         Behavior, attitudes, and “past conduct with respect to the treatment at issue and medical treatment generally”; 5.         “Reactions to the provision of, or the withholding or withdrawal of, a similar treatment for another individual”; and 6.         “Expressed concerns about the effect on the family or intimate friends of the patient if the treatment were provided, withheld, or withdrawn.”
§ 5-6059(c). The law specifically states that a decision shall not be based on either a patient’s pre-existing, long-term medical or physical disability, or a patient’s economic disadvantage. Id. The statute prohibits the surrogate from authorizing either sterilization or treatment for mental disorder. § 5-609(d).