§ 2994-d. Health care decisions for adult patients by surrogates. 1. Identifying the surrogate. One person from the following list from the class highest in priority when persons in prior classes are not reasonably available, willing, and competent to act, shall be the surrogate for an adult patient who lacks decision-making capacity. However, such person may designate any other person on the list to be surrogate, provided no one in a class higher in priority than the person designated objects:

(a) A guardian authorized to decide about health care pursuant to article eighty-one of the mental hygiene law;

(b) The spouse, if not legally separated from the patient, or the domestic partner;

(c) A son or daughter eighteen years of age or older;

(d) A parent;

(e) A brother or sister eighteen years of age or older;

(f) A close friend.

2. Restrictions on who may be a surrogate. An operator, administrator, or employee of a hospital or a mental hygiene facility from which the patient was transferred, or a physician who has privileges at the hospital or a health care provider under contract with the hospital may not serve as the surrogate for any adult who is a patient of such hospital, unless such individual is related to the patient by blood, marriage, domestic partnership, or adoption, or is a close friend of the patient whose friendship with the patient preceded the patient’s admission to the facility. If a physician serves as surrogate, the physician shall not act as the patient’s attending physician after his or her authority as surrogate begins.

3. Authority and duties of surrogate. (a) Scope of surrogate’s authority.

(i) Subject to the standards and limitations of this article, the surrogate shall have the authority to make any and all health care decisions on the adult patient’s behalf that the patient could make.

(ii) Nothing in this article shall obligate health care providers to seek the consent of a surrogate if an adult patient has already made a decision about the proposed health care, expressed orally or in writing or, with respect to a decision to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment expressed either orally during hospitalization in the presence of two witnesses eighteen years of age or older, at least one of whom is a health or social services practitioner affiliated with the hospital, or in writing. If an attending physician relies on the patient’s prior decision, the physician shall record the prior decision in the patient’s medical record. If a surrogate has already been designated for the patient, the attending physician shall make reasonable efforts to notify the surrogate prior to implementing the decision; provided that in the case of a decision to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment, the attending physician shall make diligent efforts to notify the surrogate and, if unable to notify the surrogate, shall document the efforts that were made to do so.

(b) Commencement of surrogate’s authority. The surrogate’s authority shall commence upon a determination, made pursuant to section twenty-nine hundred ninety-four-c of this article, that the adult patient lacks decision-making capacity and upon identification of a surrogate pursuant to subdivision one of this section. In the event an attending physician determines that the patient has regained decision-making capacity, the authority of the surrogate shall cease.

(c) Right and duty to be informed. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the surrogate shall have the right to receive medical information and medical records necessary to make informed decisions