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As used in this chapter: (1) "Health care" means a procedure to diagnose or treat a human disease, ailment, defect, abnormality, or complaint, whether of physical or mental origin.
Treatment includes, but is not limited to, psychiatric, psychological, substance abuse, and counseling services.
(3) "Health care professional" means an individual who is licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by the laws of this State to provide health care to members of the public.
(4) "Patient" means an individual sixteen years of age or older who presents or is presented to a health care provider for treatment.
A patient's inability to consent must be certified by two licensed physicians, each of whom has examined the patient. (A) Where a patient is unable to consent, decisions concerning his health care may be made by the following persons in the following order of priority: (1) a guardian appointed by the court pursuant to Article 5, Part 3 of the South Carolina Probate Code, if the decision is within the scope of the guardianship; (2) an attorney-in-fact appointed by the patient in a durable power of attorney executed pursuant to Section 62-5-501, if the decision is within the scope of his authority; (3) a person given priority to make health care decisions for the patient by another statutory provision; (4) a spouse of the patient unless the spouse and the patient are separated pursuant to one of the following: (a) entry of a pendente lite order in a divorce or separate maintenance action; (b) formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement; or (c) entry of a permanent order of separate maintenance and support or of a permanent order approving a property or marital settlement agreement between the parties; (5) an adult child of the patient, or if the patient has more than one adult child, a majority of the adult children who are reasonably available for consultation; (6) a parent of the patient; (7) an adult sibling of the patient, or if the patient has more than one adult sibling, a majority of the adult siblings who are reasonably available for consultation; (8) a grandparent of the patient, or if the patient has more than one grandparent, a majority of the grandparents who are reasonably available for consultation; (9) any other adult relative by blood or marriage who reasonably is believed by the health care professional to have a close personal relationship with the patient, or if the patient has more than one other adult relative, a majority of those other adult relatives who are reasonably available for consultation.
However, in an emergency the patient's inability to consent may be certified by a health care professional responsible for the care of the patient if the health care professional states in writing in the patient's record that the delay occasioned by obtaining certification from two licensed physicians would be detrimental to the patient's health. (B) Documentation of efforts to locate a decision maker who is a person identified in subsection (A) must be recorded in the patient's medical record.
A certifying physician or other health care professional shall give an opinion regarding the cause and nature of the inability to consent, its extent, and its probable duration. (C) If persons of equal priority disagree on whether certain health care should be provided to a patient who is unable to consent, an authorized person, a health care provider involved in the care of the patient, or any other person interested in the welfare of the patient may petition the probate court for an order determining what care is to be provided or for appointment of a temporary or permanent guardian.