Florida Lawmakers have been busy, here are a number of bills related to
Education.These bills have
already been introduced and are in commitee at this time.
Feminine Hygiene Products in Public Schools
Citing this act as the
"Learning with Dignity Act";
defining the terms "feminine hygiene products" and "school building"; requiring school districts to make feminine
hygiene products available,
at no charge, in female
restroom facilities of public school buildings, etc.
Requiring specified teachers to have received, at a
minimum, a bachelor's
degree; requiring private schools to provide specified students with a certain amount of time for recess; requiring private school students to
participate in the statewide
requiring private schools to comply with the State
Requirements for Educational Facilities of the Florida Building Code, etc.
Internship Tax Credit Program
Designating the "Florida
Internship Tax Credit
Program"; providing a
corporate income tax credit for qualified businesses
employing degree-seeking student interns if certain
criteria are met; specifying the amount of the credit a qualified business may claim per student intern, etc.
Requiring the State Board of Education to require each Florida College System
institution to conduct an
annual assessment related
to intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at that institution; prohibiting the State Board of Education from shielding Florida
College System institution students from certain speech; requiring the Board of Governors to require each state university to conduct an annual assessment
related to intellectual
freedom and viewpoint
diversity at that institution; prohibiting the Board of Governors from shielding state university students from certain speech, etc.
School Safety Funding
Revising certain allocations to school districts;
specifying uses and
distribution requirements for certain safe schools
allocation funds for the 2021-2022 fiscal year;
requiring each district school superintendent to remit
specified unused funds from the 2020-2021 fiscal year to the Department of Education by a specified date;
authorizing the department, upon request, to
redistribute such funds to certain school districts for a specified purpose, etc.
Public School Transportation
Revising the requirement that district school boards provide transportation for certain students; requiring
a district school
superintendent to request a review of a hazardous
walking condition upon
receipt of a written request from a parent of a student; requiring, rather than
authorizing, a district school board to initiate a specified proceeding relating to
Solar Energy Systems Located On the Property of an Educational Facility
Prohibiting costs associated with such systems from being included in the
calculation of total cost per student station for the
purpose of a limit imposed on such costs for certain
new construction, etc
Required Instruction of African American History
Beginning in a specified school year, requiring the Department of Education to annually verify that school districts, charter schools, and specified private schools
implement certain instruction relating to the history of African Americans;
specifying requirements for school districts, charter schools, and specified
private schools relating to such instruction; requiring certain statewide, standardized assessments to include, when appropriate, curricula content from
the history of African
Students With Disabilities in Public Schools
Requiring school districts to prohibit the use of seclusion on students with disabilities in public schools; requiring school districts to adopt
positive behavior interventions and supports and certain policies and procedures; creating the Video Cameras in Public School Classrooms Pilot Program; requiring
continuing education and inservice training for instructional personnel teaching students with
emotional or behavioral disabilities, etc
Retaining Students Back a year/Promoting to higher grade in mid-year
Authorizing a parent to
request that his or her
student be retained in a grade level for a specified school year; requiring school district superintendents to grant such requests if they are timely received;
requiring school districts to administer a certain
assessment to specified students; clarifying that specified students may qualify for midyear promotion; authorizing a parent to request such promotion or to request that his or her student continue to be retained, etc.
Standard High School Diploma Award Requirements
Adding a new requirement for the award of a standard high school diploma to
Academically Challenging Curriculum to Enhance Learning students; requiring certain students to submit a Free Application for
Federal Student Aid in order to be awarded a standard high school diploma, etc.
Public Records and Public Meetings
Providing an exemption from public records
requirements for any
information of an applicant for president of a state
university or a Florida
College System institution; specifying that personal identifying information of applicants who are in the final group of applicants is no longer confidential and exempt at a time certain; specifying that certain
meetings are not exempt from public meeting
requirements; providing for future legislative review and repeal of the exemptions; providing a statement of public necessity, etc.
Florida Talent Development Council
Requiring the council, by a specified date, to submit to specified entities a report that includes recommendations on the feasibility of
establishing and implementing the Pathways in
Technology Early College High School (P-TECH)
program or a similar
program; providing requirements for the report, etc
Requiring the Commissioner of Education to develop minimum criteria for a
nonpartisan civic literacy practicum for high school students, beginning with a specified school year; authorizing students to apply the hours they devote to practicum activities to certain community service requirements; requiring school districts accept nonpartisan civic literacy practicum activities and hours in requirements for certain awards; requiring the State Board of Education to designate certain high schools as Freedom Schools, etc.
The Center Square
Commentary on dating apps follows a familiar theme, presenting them as encouraging shallowness, objectification, and STIs while creating a generation incapable of intimacy. Depending on just how judgmental the author is, these features may be presented as civilization-ending threats or merely sad. Unfortunately for the authors of these articles, these claims bear little relationship to the truth, at least in Switzerland – although that's unlikely to stop them being written.
Dr Gina Potarca of the University of Geneva examined a study of Swiss couples who met in the last ten years. Relevant questions included how they met, their plans for the future, and their satisfaction with the relationship. As noted in PLOS ONE, this fills a gap in knowledge on the topic since previously; “Surveys that measured where couples met have been scarce, and when such data existed, the sample of couples formed through dating apps was usually small.”
Dr Potarca distinguishes between traditional online dating sites – even if they now have app versions – and pure apps like Tinder and Grindr. Websites have users provide extensive information about themselves and show matches largely on that basis, while apps are based on proximity, with users showing initial interest largely based on photographs with much less detailed information in text form.
It's certainly plausible that a medium where photographs, rather than biographies, dominate the decision on whether to initiate contact wouldn't be great for long-term compatibility. However, that is not what Potarca found.
After controlling for factors such as age, religious belief, previous relationships, and urban/rural location, Potarca found no significant difference in relationship satisfaction between those who met their partner on or offline. Dating websites that match for compatibility did come out ahead of other ways of meeting on this measure, be they apps or through friends or hobbies. Nevertheless, apps were not significantly worse than any of the other main alternatives.
Nor was there any sign those who met via app were looking for something shorter term. The app contingent were just as likely to express an intention to marry as their counterparts, and were actually keener to move in together.
In an even bigger blow to stereotypes, women who met their partner via app were more likely to say they planned to have a child in the near future than those who met through any other method, although the fact their male partners were less keen might signal trouble down the track.
One big difference between app-forged relationships and those initiated in other ways emerged, however. Apps create much more social mixing, for example between partners of different levels of education. This is one of the few features revealed by previous studies on the topic, which have also shown apps lead to more interracial couples.
"Knowing that dating apps have likely become even more popular during this year's periods of lockdown and social distancing, it is reassuring to dismiss alarming concerns about the long-term effects of using these tools," Potarca said in a statement.
Potarca didn't look at how often matches lead to long-term relationships, or what proportion of users wanted that. Naturally a study restricted to one country isn't necessarily globally representative, but it's probably more indicative of the situation in another country than an author's three app-using friends.
New data suggest that nearly all COVID-19 survivors have the immune cells necessary to fight
re-infection for 8 months or more!
The findings, based on analyses of blood samples from 188 COVID-19 patients, suggest that responses to the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, from all major players in the "adaptive" immune system, which learns to fight specific pathogens, can last for at least eight months after the onset of symptoms from the initial infection.
"Our data suggest that the immune response is there -- and it stays," LJI Professor Alessandro Sette, Dr. Biol. Sci., who co-led the study with LJI Professor Shane Crotty, Ph.D., and LJI Research Assistant Professor Daniela Weiskopf, Ph.D. "We measured antibodies, memory B cells, helper T cells and killer T cells all at the same time," says Crotty. "As far as we know, this is the largest study ever, for any acute infection, that has measured all four of those components of immune memory."
The findings, published in the January 6, 2021, online edition of Science, could mean that COVID-19 survivors have protective immunity against serious disease from the SARS-CoV-2 virus for months, perhaps years after infection.
The new study helps clarify some concerning COVID-19 data from other labs, which showed a dramatic drop-off of COVID-fighting antibodies in the months following infection. Some feared that this decline in antibodies meant that the body wouldn't be equipped to defend itself against reinfection.
Sette explains that a decline in antibodies is very normal. "Of course, the immune response decreases over time to a certain extent, but that's normal. That's what immune responses do. They have a first phase of ramping up, and after that fantastic expansion, eventually the immune response contracts somewhat and gets to a steady state," Sette says.
The researchers found that virus-specific antibodies do persist in the bloodstream months after infection. Importantly the body also has immune cells called memory B cells at the ready. If a person encounters SARS-CoV-2 again, these memory B cells could reactivate and produce SARS-CoV-2 antibodies to fight re-infection.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus uses its "spike" protein to initiate infection of human cells, so the researchers looked for memory B cells specific for the SARS-CoV-2 spike. They found that spike-specific memory B cells actually increased in the blood six months after infection.
COVID-19 survivors also had an army of T cells ready to fight reinfection. Memory CD4+ "helper" T cells lingered, ready to trigger an immune response if they saw SARS-CoV-2 again. Many memory CB8+ "killer" T cells also remained, ready to destroy infected cells and halt a reinfection.
The different parts of the adaptive immune system work together, so seeing COVID-fighting antibodies, memory B cells, memory CD4+ T cells and memory CD8+ T cells in the blood more than eight months following infection is a good sign.
"This implies that there's a good chance people would have protective immunity, at least against serious disease, for that period of time, and probably well beyond that," says Crotty.
The team cautions that protective immunity does vary dramatically from person to person. In fact, the researchers saw a 100-fold range in the magnitude of immune memory. People with a weak immune memory may be vulnerable to a case of recurrent COVID-19 in the future, or they may be more likely to infect others.
"There are some people that are way down at the bottom of how much immune memory they have, and maybe those people are a lot more susceptible to reinfection," says Crotty.
"It looks like people who have been infected are going to have some degree of protective immunity against re-infection," adds Weiskopf. "How much protection remains to be established."
The fact that immune memory against SARS-CoV-2 is possible is also a good sign for vaccine developers. Weiskopf emphasizes that the study tracked responses to natural SARS-CoV-2 infection, not immune memory after vaccination.
"It is possible that immune memory will be similarly long lasting similar following vaccination, but we will have to wait until the data come in to be able to tell for sure," says Weiskopf. "Several months ago, our studies showed that natural infection induced a strong response, and this study now shows that the responses lasts. The vaccine studies are at the initial stages, and so far have been associated with strong protection. We are hopeful that a similar pattern of responses lasting over time will also emerge for the vaccine-induced responses."
The researchers will continue to analyze samples from COVID-19 patients in the coming months and hope to track their responses 12 to 18 months after the onset of symptoms.
"We are also doing very detailed analyses at a much, much higher granularity on what pieces of the virus are recognized," says Sette. "And we plan to evaluate the immune response not only following natural infection but following vaccination."
The team is also working to understand how immune memory differs across people of different ages and how that may influence COVID-19 case severity.
La Jolla Institute for Immunology
Get ready to experience the best food in Fort Myers!
Voted Best Continental Cuisine in The News-Press Reader's Choice Poll.
Their menu, offering high-quality food served with a beautiful presentation is so varied you are sure to be pleased.
They also have an extensive wine list and a full bar which to accompany your dining choices.
The warm and welcoming lounge is great for Happy Hour, offered daily from 4:00-6:00.
Chef Dale, Betty and Courtney hope to welcome you soon!
Their warm and welcoming bar is great for libations and lots of laughter. Relax in comfort with friends and enjoy discounted drinks and appetizers during happy hour,
4pm – 6pm ... Note: the appetizers are discounted at the bar only.
The Dining Room at Courtney's Continental Cuisine offers an experience you won't forget! If you're an early diner, be sure to check out their Sunset Dining Specials.
They have a catering services, perfect for your next special event. And they'll work with you to define your needs and budget, then customize a menu just for you!
A family run business and at anytime that you stop by either Executive Chef Dale, his wife Betty, or their son Courtney will be there. Always working to make your dining and/or special event exceptional!
Not only is Chef Dale responsible for all of our special dishes from our exceptional menus, he is known for his BEAUTIFUL hand carved ice sculptures too!
He is one of the only chefs in the area that does this intricate work on a block of ice. It is amazing to watch!
Chef Dale doesn't stop there, he also creates unbelievable butter sculptures and does wood carving. When you visit us look around, you will see his wonderful wood carvings on display in the restaurant.
So come on in for a great evening of wining and dining...
Voted Best Continental Cuisine in The News-Press Reader's Choice Poll.
And tell them you saw them on the Sun Bay Paper Website!
With 2020 bringing its most challenging obstacles, all businesses have felt the burden of staying open, let alone maintaining a great reputation. Through it all, two, old time staple restaurants on Fort Myers Beach keep rolling along.
Covid - 19, Red Tide, Hurricanes, years of road construction, and other obstacles, too numerous to mention have burdened all business in South West Florida, through it all, Junkanoos and one of the top-rated dining restaurants ... Fresh Catch Bistro, keep rolling along. These two popular restaurants have one thing in common... Consistency... Having been here for the past 20 years myself, I believe, that consistency is Jerry Nolan.... Jerry has been managing the affairs of both restaurants for the past 17 years.
I caught up with Jerry Nolan, long time manager of the Fresh Catch, who recently survived a fifteen-day hospital stay encounter with Covid -19 that I would not wish on my worst enemy, however ... fortunately.... it was not his time.... he had a difficult struggle but he survived and is still with us. He agreed to speak with us for this article.
I asked Jerry how the two restaurants have fared through the pandemic? Jerry said " It's been a challenge, like everyone else, the state closed us mid-March until May 4th, but actually, we have done very well, considering.”
I asked Jerry how his customers were dealing with this 'Covid mess'? he said "I'm glad to say, our new customers say ... 'We'll be back' and our regulars tell us 'Everything was great as usual'..... those are the best things I can hear from our guests ... whether they are new or been coming in for years, and remember, we are also still maintaining only a 70% capacity, the safety of our customers and staff are paramount!...”
When I asked about changes to the menu, Jerry told me Junkanoos is adding new menu items every week and teased me with 2 new items on the Fresh Catch menu, a great new appetizer, Seafood Salad, with Octopus, Crab Meat, Shrimp, Avocados, Peppers, Onions, Capers, and Tomatoes...$18 And a special entree "Beramundi Vera Cruz, an 8 oz pan seared filet, green olives, avocados, peppers , onions, capers, and tomatoes.... for $34 ........ sure to be a crowd pleaser!
I asked if Chef Pablo Felix was still the man behind the scenes...
Chef Pablo Felix
"Absolutely, without Pablo, co-chef Javier, and our great wait staff.... we might as well be a garage" he replied.... “and Pablo and his staff just have just won us the Trip Advisor prestigious 'Best of The Best' Award!
Which means that Fresh Catch Bistro came in the top 10% in the whole world, based on reviews and fine foods!!" Then added ... " Pablo is also making videos that are on our Facebook page, there are over 30 of them already, all with a comic flair!"
I mentioned to him, "You've been with this company 17 years, you must be doing something right! What's the secret?
Being who he is ... Jerry gave all the credit to everyone else ... he replied "1st. It's Franco Russo, who has proved himself a worthy owner, He's the head! Then, our great general manager, Neal, he makes the two places run, from crunching the numbers to working on our washing machine, he does it all!"
Then there's our Chefs, the Staff and the Great Food.... that what keeps them coming back, then there's our Co-managers, and we have 4 who are all 20 to 30 years younger than me, Jay, Andreas, Patrick and Reyes... their energy allows them to handle any situation, and I also want to mention our superb bartenders and our incredible office staff, Christine and Lisa" and then he closes with "and then I come along"
So, I asked... "What about the great tribute shows you have become famous for, The Rat Pack, Don Rickles, Streisand, Kenny Rogers and all the others?
Jerry said, "This year, those shows will be split up between The Moose Club, on San Carlos Blvd, FM Beach and Cape Cabaret on the corner of Vincennes Blvd. and 47th Ter. in Cape Coral, the first show will be the Rat Pack on January 27th at the Moose Club...
The great food and service continues and another great show is coming soon, look for more information on this next show below.
The Cape Coral Police Department and City of Cape Coral are teaming up with Waste Pro to keep our community safe and help prevent crime during the holidays. Instead of placing your empty gift boxes at the curb, Waste Pro is providing a community site where residents can dispose of cardboard boxes.
Boxes left at the roadway serve as billboard for criminals who drive through neighborhoods looking to see who received the newest televisions, video game systems, or other electronics. The goal is to reduce residential and vehicle burglaries. Don’t be an easy target for criminals.
The bin will be available for recyclable materials only.
1020 Cultural Park Boulevard (parking lot area across the street from City Hall)
December 24, 2020 through December 28, 2020.
In Southwest Florida all the big fireworks displays for New Year’s Eve, have been canceled, but you can still celebrate the New Year at smaller events that allow for more social distancing and other precautions. We found great events on Fort Myers Beach, (FM Beach) Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Estero and Bonita Springs.
What to do on New Year's Eve
The Salty Crab
1154 Estero Blvd, F M Beach.
Entertainment by : Meagan Rose 8-12
Dinner : a la carte
Island View: New Year’s Eve Gala
1400 Estero Blvd. FM Beach.
Entertainment: Angela Hicks, 8:30p.m.
Dinner: Four-Course Menu - 3 To 10pm (See Back Page Ad for details) $65 ea.
239-463-3111 for Reservations
Moose lodge 964
19090 San Carlos Blvd. FM Beach.
Entertainment: Danny Albani 8 p.m.
Dinner: Filet Mignon w/ Chicken
entree with all the fixings and all you Drink Open bar, Champagne toast at midnight, Party favors, Decorations and Free Parking. $50 Doors open at 6pm.
239-463-2221 Reservation Required.
1250 Estero Blvd, F M Beach.
Entertainment: The New Vinyls 8 pm
Dinner: a la carte
Oliver's Place This location just opened up this week! Come on out for their first New Years Eve Party With Electric Lipstick, if you want to dance into the New Year, this is the band that will keep the dance floor hoppin' all night long! With a Champagne toast at Midnight
7250 Estero Blvd. Ft Myers Beach.
Entertainment: Electric Lipstic
Dinner: a la carte
SUNDIAL Beach Resort
1451 Middle Gulf Drive, Sanibel, 6:30 pm - 12:00 am
Ring in the New Year with a family-friendly evening under the stars, complete with Guitarist and Steel Drums entertainment and buffet stations. Shellebrate on Turtle's Beach and the Main Pool Deck
Price Adults: $80 Children 4-12: $30 Children 3 and under: free
Cabana with reserved table seating: $850 - up to 10 ppl,
private cabana, tableside drink service, private champagne toast (limited cabanas availability) To purchase tickets, please call 239-395-7227. Tickets must be purchased in advance. for menu and multiple evening activities:
Caloosa Sound Convention Center Ballroom
2200 Edwards Dr. Ft Myers.
Entertainment: Stolen Fruit
Dinner: Extravagant Chef Action Buffet Stations
Open bar, Late night dessert buffet, Champagne toast at midnight, Party favors
Admission $150 ea, includes gratuity. Parking not
Coconut Falls Tiki Bar.
17200 17200 S Tamiami Trl, Ft Myers 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Entertainment: Ben Allen from “The Voice”: Iconic Band opens. $25 admission
Dinner: a la carte.
Includes a Champagne toast.
16440 S Tamiami Trail #11, Fort Myers, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Live Music: Split Decision
Dinner: Buffet Dinner, a Champagne toast. $35.
JC Cruises Dinner/Dance
Cruise on the Caloosahatchee River: Paddle-Wheel Boat 9 p.m.
1300 Hendry St., Ft Myers.
Entertainment: Dance Music
Dinner: Buffet Dinner, party favors, Champagne toast. $70 plus taxes,
239-334-7474 or jccruises.com
Paddywagon Irish Pub:
9330 Six Mile Cypress Parkway, Unit 3, Fort Myers
New Year’s Eve celebration streaming live on TV from Ireland.
Entertainment: Guns n Hoses Pipes and Drums Band
(whether there are only an handful or the 20+ performing these folks are great)
Dinner: Pot Luck Meal and more. 5-9 p.m. FREE!
Thanks to: Women of Irish Heritage SWFL
239-689-5021 or facebook.com/paddywagonsixmile
20041 S. Tamiami Trail, # 19, Estero. 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Entertainment: Journey Tribute Never Stop Believin’
Dinner: A Five-Course Dinner. Champagne toast with the band. $120
20% gratuity included
4725 Vincennes Blvd., Cape Coral. 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Entertainment: The Goldtones: 8 p.m Oldies/Doo-Wop
Dinner: A Four-Course Dinner & party favors,
Champagne toast, balloon drop. $72, 20% gratuity
included 239-549-3000 or capecabaret.com
Crossroads Grill & Lounge
Merchants Plaza, 211 Hancock Bridge Pkwy, Cape Coral, FL 33990
Live: Proper Villians 8 p.m.
Dinner: a la carte,
Champagne toast, FREE Admission
Big Storm Brewery
4721 SE 10th Place, Cape Coral. 7 P.M.
Entertainment: Soulixer and the Riverside Band
Dinner: a la carte, Party Favors, A Photo Booth and more.. Free ...at 10 p.m. inside and outside VIP table reservations for 4 are $125 and up and include dessert and a bottle of Champagne for each person.
239-257-1401 or facebook.com/bigstormbrewingcapecoral
The Seaside Bar
24850 Old 41 Road, Unit 12, Bonita Springs 9 p.m.
Entertainment : Dueling Pianos Show
Dinner: Five-Course Dinner, Champagne Toast. $99
239-288-1470 for menu: facebook.com/TheSeasideBar
There you go! Lots of options!
If you go to an in-person event, the CDC still recommends wearing a face mask when walking around. Also be patient when approaching others, people will move and make space for you...
Dear Doctor: Do marijuana users really have more sex? Why would that be? I ask out of simple curiosity, of course.
Dear Reader: I suspect you're referring to a recent, much-publicized study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Before I answer your question, however, let's consider: Why is sex so important? From a biological perspective, male-female sex is necessary for procreation and, without it, none of us would be here. But aside from the sperm-meets-egg function of intercourse, greater amounts of sex with one partner have indeed been linked to greater happiness.
A 2015 study in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science analyzed data from three studies totaling more than 30,000 people. The study looked at sex frequency, relationship satisfaction and happiness. The authors found that, although sexual frequency led to greater relationship satisfaction and happiness, those factors plateaued when sex occurred four to six times per month -- meaning that having sex more than once a week did not alter relationship satisfaction or happiness compared to having intercourse once a week.
This brings us to the latest study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. The authors analyzed data from a health questionnaire called the National Survey of Family Growth. Participants ages 15 to 44 were asked about their frequency of intercourse four weeks prior to the survey. The participants also were asked about their frequency of marijuana use; 28,176 women and 22,943 men participated in the study, with an average age of about 30.
Granted, the study's parameters were narrow, featuring only questions about male-female sex. Still, marijuana use did correlate with higher sexual frequency. In a four-week time period, men who had never used marijuana had sex an average of a little more than five times; men who used marijuana weekly had intercourse an average of six times; and men who used marijuana daily had sex an average of seven times. Among women, those who had never used marijuana had intercourse an average of six times, while those who used it weekly or daily had intercourse an average of seven times.
Keep in mind, however, that the link between marijuana and sex is a correlation -- it doesn't reflect causation. The true connection between the two may simply be risky behavior. That said, for many people, marijuana is a relaxant, helping them forget their anxieties. It also decreases inhibition, and many users report that sexual experiences are more pleasurable with the drug. So it's simple to deduce how marijuana could increase sexual frequency.
Regardless, an increase in sexual frequency of one to 1 1/2 sex events per month hardly seems enough to warrant regular marijuana use. It certainly seems unlikely to increase the happiness we referenced earlier.
For starters, users can become dependent upon the drug, needing it before they have sex. Also, marijuana, like alcohol and other drugs, can lead to more promiscuous behavior, especially in younger adults. This can lead to intercourse with multiple partners and a failure to use condoms, raising the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
So yes, marijuana use may lead to slightly more sex -- but also more risk.
Eve Glazier, M.D.
and Elizabeth Ko, M.D
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a renewed interest in estate planning. Indeed, many people who have put off making a will or other critical estate planning documents are now looking to get their affairs in order. One such document is a Designation of Health Care Surrogate, which is a special type of power of attorney for medical decisions.
If you do not currently have a Health Care Surrogate, here is a brief overview of what the designation entails and why it is a good idea to have one.
What Can a Health Surrogate Do (and Not Do)?
Florida law permits you to designate another person, known as a “surrogate,” to “make health care decisions” for you. The surrogate can only act if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. As long as you have “decision making capacity,” your wishes and instructions to your health care providers override any contrary decisions made by the surrogate. Unless you direct otherwise, your surrogate only steps in and takes charge after your primary physician determines you are no longer capable of making your own health care decisions.
It is generally a good idea to name a backup to your surrogate if your first choice is unavailable or unable to act for any reason. You can also name two or more people to serve as “co-surrogates,” but you should think carefully before taking this step. If your co-surrogates disagree as to how to proceed with your care, a judge may need to get involved and appoint a guardian to make a final decision.
In designating a health care surrogate, you can authorize that person to perform any of the following actions on your behalf:
● receive information related to your health care from your doctor or other providers;
● discuss your current medical condition and treatments with your providers;
● give or refuse consent to any medical procedures, including “life-prolonging procedures”;
● apply for government benefits to help pay for the cost of your health care; and
● make “anatomical gifts,” i.e., consent to organ donation.
Again, it is important to emphasize that you have the right to make all of these decisions for yourself. You can even sign a separate “living will” to clearly express how you wish to be treated in the event you have a terminal or end stage condition, or you are in a “persistent vegetative state” with no reasonable chance of recovery.
Also note, by designating a health care surrogate, you are only authorizing that person to make medical decisions. Your surrogate has no authority to manage your property or finances. You need to sign a separate power of attorney to appoint someone to handle those matters for you.
Even when Florida is not in the grips of a worldwide pandemic, you should still take the time to create (or review) your estate plan. A qualified Fort Myers estate planning attorney can help. Contact the Kuhn Law Firm, P.A., at 239-333-4529 today to schedule a free confidential consultation with a member of our estate planning team.