Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 37.2. Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
Chapter 11. Judicial Authorization of Treatment
2/25/2020

§ 37.2-1103. Emergency custody orders for adult persons who are incapable of making an informed decision as a result of physical injury or illness.

A. Based upon the opinion of a licensed physician that an adult person is incapable of making an informed decision as a result of a physical injury or illness and that the medical standard of care indicates that testing, observation, and treatment are necessary to prevent imminent and irreversible harm, a magistrate may issue, for good cause shown, an emergency custody order for the adult person to be taken into custody and transported to a hospital emergency room for testing, observation, or treatment.

B. Prior to issuance of an emergency custody order pursuant to this section, the magistrate shall ascertain that there is no legally authorized person available to give consent to necessary treatment for the adult person and that the adult person (i) is incapable of making an informed decision regarding obtaining necessary treatment, (ii) has refused transport to obtain such necessary treatment, (iii) has indicated an intention to resist such transport, and (iv) is unlikely to become capable of making an informed decision regarding obtaining necessary treatment within the time required for such decision.

C. An opinion by the licensed physician that an adult person is incapable of making an informed decision as a result of physical injury or illness shall only be rendered after the licensed physician has communicated electronically or personally with the emergency medical services personnel on the scene and has attempted to communicate electronically or personally with the adult person to obtain information and medical data concerning the cause of the adult person's incapacity, has attempted to obtain consent from the adult person, and has failed to obtain consent.

D. If there is a change in the person's condition, the emergency medical services personnel shall contact the licensed physician. If at any time the licensed physician determines that a person subject to an order under this subsection has become capable of making and communicating an informed decision, the physician shall rely on the person's decision on whether to consent to further observation, testing, or treatment.

E. Upon reaching the emergency room, the person shall be evaluated by a licensed physician. If the physician determines that the person meets the requirements of § 37.2-1104, the physician may apply for a temporary detention order pursuant to that that section. If the physician determines that the person does not meet the requirements of § 37.2-1104, the person shall be released from custody immediately. The person shall remain in custody until this evaluation is performed, but in no event shall the period of custody under this section exceed four hours.

F. The law-enforcement officer may lawfully go to or be sent beyond the territorial limits of the county, city or town in which he serves to any point in the Commonwealth for the purpose of executing an emergency custody order pursuant to this section. Nothing herein shall preclude a law-enforcement officer from obtaining emergency medical treatment or further medical evaluation at any time for a person in his custody as provided in this section.

G. If an emergency custody order is not executed within four hours of its issuance, the order shall be void and shall be returned unexecuted to the office of the clerk of the issuing court or, if such office is not open, to any magistrate serving the jurisdiction of the issuing court.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-134.21; 1999, cc. 814, 946, 985; 2003, c. 790; 2004, cc. 66, 104, 1014; 2005, c. 716; 2008, cc. 551, 691.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.