• contact@example.com
  • 666 888 0000

Why Your College Students Need An Advance Health Care Directive

A real-life story as told by Juli M. Findling, Senior Paralegal

A few years back, one of my daughters (I’ll call her Claudia for the sake of continued good familial relations) went off to college at UGA.  Off-campus, Athens is known for its lively downtown life, and Claudia, in need of extra spending money, and having a bad case of FOMO (“fear of missing out”), took a job as a bartender at one of the local hot-spots on Clayton Street.

One night after closing, she and her co-workers, tasked with rigorously cleaning the restaurant and bar, loaded up a large bin with liquor bottles to store in the basement.  The manager had strongly warned the staff against carrying heavy loads down the stairs to the basement, but after a long shift, by 2:30 in the morning, Claudia wanted to get home ASAP.  She decided to make the liquor-stashing run.

Now, this building is old, and the stairs are badly worn. Near the very top, the heel of her boot slipped off the step, and she toppled down the entire staircase – bucket, bottles, and body! 

She awoke at the bottom covered in broken glass, with Officer Grimes’s face (the local cop who had a penchant for arresting MIPs – Minors In Possession) checking her pupils.  Later Claudia would lament that she thought she’d died and gone to hell when she opened her eyes, but that’s a story for another type of law firm.

With a large bleeding gash on her forehead and a long laceration on her forearm, she was taken by ambulance and treated at Athens Regional Hospital. Even though she was still a teenager, because she was over 18 at the time, without an Advance Health Care Directive, the hospital staff had no authority to contact anyone on her behalf.

The next morning, her dad and I arrived in Athens for the UGA vs. Tech football game.  We showed up at Claudia’s campus townhome just before she got home. My stomach dropped when I saw her head and arm wrapped in gauze bandages that covered nearly 50 stitches. I could not believe that no one at the hospital the night before had bothered to call me!

If Claudia had an Advance Health Care Directive in place at the time of her fall, if at any point during the times she was receiving medical treatment she was unable or unwilling to communicate her wishes, from a medical standpoint, the medical staff would have had the authority to contact the person(s) she appointed as her health care agent(s) under her health care directive to assist with making decisions on Claudia’s behalf.

I still shudder to think of how bad the outcome of such a fall could have been.  We ALL were lucky!  And I regret that we were not prepared for such an event.  Don’t make the same mistake we did; accidents and illness can and do happen while your college students are away. Call Hoffman & Associates at (404) 255-7400 to schedule a time to talk about an Advance Health Care Directive for your college-bound children.


  • Juli Findling

    Juli joined Hoffman & Associates in June 2018 with eight years of Paralegal experience in the area of civil litigation with Robertson, Bodoh & Nasrallah, LLP. Prior to that, she dedicated five years to working as an Associate Care Specialist with Innovative Outsourcing, Inc. after working as a Systems Analyst in the corporate arena, including General Motors, Inc.’s headquarters in Warren, MI, and American Software, Inc. in Atlanta, GA.

    View all posts