What does a medical representative do

Medical treatments

Patients who are capable of making decisions can only ever decide for yourselfwhether or not medical treatment should be given. This also applies to people with a representative.

The doctor assesses whether the patient is capable of making decisions during the consultation.

If the patient is unable to make a decision, he / she should be supported in the decision by relatives, close people, confidants or specially trained specialists. The patient can, however, refuse to do so.

If the patient is unable to make a decision, even with support, the representative decides according to the patient's will. The prerequisite for this is that the representative is authorized to represent medical treatment. When in doubt, it can be assumed that a person is desiring medically necessary treatment. If the patient indicates that he / she refuses the treatment or the representative refuses the treatment and thus does not comply with the wishes of the patient, the court must be appealed.

Exception: If people who are incapable of making decisions have to be treated immediately because otherwise severe health consequences or severe pain would occur, the doctors must initiate this in any case, even if no support or consent has yet been obtained!


A living will should be drawn up in order to rule out the possibility of certain treatments being carried out from the outset.

Even people who are incapable of making decisions must be informed about the basics of medical treatment.

The principles of medical treatment also apply to nursing and therapeutic measures taken by members of other legally regulated health professions (e.g. nurses, psychologists, psychotherapists, etc.) if they are part of their core competencies.

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Last updated: February 15, 2021

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Justice