Lockbox holds medical decisions when you can't speak for yourself

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - No one would want to be put into a medical emergency. Perhaps worse, a situation where you could not speak for yourself.

A program at the Secretary of State's Office allows you to put those wishes down, along with any other pertinent information and store it in a virtual lockbox.

“But then it is up to the hospital to have their own procedures for how to search or where to search or at what point to search,” says Gail Anderson with the Secretary of State's Office.

Once the information is filled out, and documents uploaded, your lockbox can be accessed by you and any other person you designate. If a medical emergency arises, and you are taken to a hospital or skilled care facility, the agency will be able to access that information and abide by your wishes.

Dr. Andreia Pop is a hospice physician with St. Mary's Regional Medical Center. She says the lockbox helps the patient, but it also helps medical personnel with surviving family members who may question what's being done.

“I think that's why the advanced directive is absolutely a great gift you can make for your family. Make your wishes known, and then you help them cope with stress and you spare them making such an emotional decision,” says Dr. Pop.

While the lockbox has been around for a couple years, a new drawer has been added to the system. Residents can now designate a guardian should they become incapacitated and cannot make medical, legal, or other decisions for themselves.

While this paperwork is a little more extensive, it will be on file. Should a guardianship issue come up in district court, the court will have jurisdiction to access the information, and legally designate the guardian of your choice, despite what anyone else claims or contends.