Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 54.1. Professions and Occupations
Chapter 29. Medicine and Other Healing Arts
12/10/2018

§ 54.1-2983. Procedure for making advance directive; notice to physician.

Any adult capable of making an informed decision may, at any time, make a written advance directive to address any or all forms of health care in the event the declarant is later determined to be incapable of making an informed decision. A written advance directive shall be signed by the declarant in the presence of two subscribing witnesses and may (i) specify the health care the declarant does or does not authorize; (ii) appoint an agent to make health care decisions for the declarant; and (iii) specify an anatomical gift, after the declarant's death, of all of the declarant's body or an organ, tissue or eye donation pursuant to Article 2 (§ 32.1-289.2 et seq.) of Chapter 8 of Title 32.1. A written advance directive may be submitted to the Advance Health Care Directive Registry, pursuant to Article 9 (§ 54.1-2994 et seq.).

Further, any adult capable of making an informed decision who has been diagnosed by his attending physician as being in a terminal condition may make an oral advance directive (i) directing the specific health care the declarant does or does not authorize in the event the declarant is incapable of making an informed decision, and (ii) appointing an agent to make health care decisions for the declarant under the circumstances stated in the advance directive if the declarant should be determined to be incapable of making an informed decision. An oral advance directive shall be made in the presence of the attending physician and two witnesses.

An advance directive may authorize an agent to take any lawful actions necessary to carry out the declarant's decisions, including, but not limited to, granting releases of liability to medical providers, releasing medical records, and making decisions regarding who may visit the patient.

It shall be the responsibility of the declarant to provide for notification to his attending physician that an advance directive has been made. If an advance directive has been submitted to the Advance Health Care Directive Registry pursuant to Article 9 (§ 54.1-2994 et seq.), it shall be the responsibility of the declarant to provide his attending physician, legal representative, or other person with the information necessary to access the advance directive. In the event the declarant is comatose, incapacitated or otherwise mentally or physically incapable of communication, any other person may notify the physician of the existence of an advance directive and, if applicable, the fact that it has been submitted to the Advance Health Care Directive Registry. An attending physician who is so notified shall promptly make the advance directive or a copy of the advance directive, if written, or the fact of the advance directive, if oral, a part of the declarant's medical records.

In the event that any portion of an advance directive is invalid or illegal, such invalidity or illegality shall not affect the remaining provisions of the advance directive.

1983, c. 532, § 54-325.8:3; 1988, c. 765; 1992, cc. 748, 772; 1997, c. 801; 2008, cc. 301, 696; 2009, cc. 211, 268; 2010, c. 16.

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.