Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 54.1. Professions and Occupations
Chapter 29. Medicine and Other Healing Arts
5/25/2018

§ 54.1-2970. Medical treatment for certain persons incapable of giving informed consent.

When a delay in treatment might adversely affect recovery, a licensed health professional or licensed hospital shall not be subject to liability arising out of a claim based on lack of informed consent or be prohibited from providing surgical, medical or dental treatment to an individual who is receiving service in a facility operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services or who is receiving case management services from a community services board or behavioral health authority and who is incapable of giving informed consent to the treatment by reason of mental illness or intellectual disability under the following conditions:

1. No legally authorized guardian or committee was available to give consent;

2. A reasonable effort is made to advise a parent or other next of kin of the need for the surgical, medical or dental treatment;

3. No reasonable objection is raised by or on behalf of the alleged incapacitated person; and

4. Two physicians, or in the case of dental treatment, two dentists or one dentist and one physician, state in writing that they have made a good faith effort to explain the necessary treatment to the individual, and they have probable cause to believe that the individual is incapacitated and unable to consent to the treatment by reason of mental illness or intellectual disability and that delay in treatment might adversely affect recovery.

The provisions of this section shall apply only to the treatment of physical injury or illness and not to any treatment for a mental, emotional or psychological condition.

Treatment pursuant to this section of an individual's mental, emotional or psychological condition when the individual is unable to make an informed decision and when no legally authorized guardian or committee is available to provide consent shall be governed by regulations adopted by the State Board of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services under § 37.2-400.

Code 1950, § 32-137.01; 1979, c. 212, § 54-325.2:1; 1988, c. 765; 1989, c. 591; 1997, c. 801; 2002, c. 80; 2009, cc. 813, 840; 2012, cc. 476, 507.

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.