Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 54.1. Professions and Occupations
Chapter 29. Medicine and Other Healing Arts
9/22/2019

§ 54.1-2986.2. Health care decisions in the event of patient protest.

A. Except as provided in subsection B or C, the provisions of this article shall not authorize providing, continuing, withholding or withdrawing health care if the patient's attending physician knows that such action is protested by the patient.

B. A patient's agent may make a health care decision over the protest of a patient who is incapable of making an informed decision if:

1. The patient's advance directive explicitly authorizes the patient's agent to make the health care decision at issue, even over the patient's later protest, and an attending licensed physician, a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed physician assistant, a licensed nurse practitioner, a licensed professional counselor, or a licensed clinical social worker who is familiar with the patient attested in writing at the time the advance directive was made that the patient was capable of making an informed decision and understood the consequences of the provision;

2. The decision does not involve withholding or withdrawing life-prolonging procedures; and

3. The health care that is to be provided, continued, withheld or withdrawn is determined and documented by the patient's attending physician to be medically appropriate and is otherwise permitted by law.

C. In cases in which a patient has not explicitly authorized his agent to make the health care decision at issue over the patient's later protest, a patient's agent or person authorized to make decisions pursuant to § 54.1-2986 may make a decision over the protest of a patient who is incapable of making an informed decision if:

1. The decision does not involve withholding or withdrawing life-prolonging procedures;

2. The decision does not involve (i) admission to a facility as defined in § 37.2-100 or (ii) treatment or care that is subject to regulations adopted pursuant to § 37.2-400;

3. The health care decision is based, to the extent known, on the patient's religious beliefs and basic values and on any preferences previously expressed by the patient in an advance directive or otherwise regarding such health care or, if they are unknown, is in the patient's best interests;

4. The health care that is to be provided, continued, withheld, or withdrawn has been determined and documented by the patient's attending physician to be medically appropriate and is otherwise permitted by law; and

5. The health care that is to be provided, continued, withheld, or withdrawn has been affirmed and documented as being ethically acceptable by the health care facility's patient care consulting committee, if one exists, or otherwise by two physicians not currently involved in the patient's care or in the determination of the patient's capacity to make health care decisions.

D. A patient's protest shall not revoke the patient's advance directive unless it meets the requirements of § 54.1-2985.

E. If a patient protests the authority of a named agent or any person authorized to make health care decisions by § 54.1-2986, except for the patient's guardian, the protested individual shall have no authority under this article to make health care decisions on his behalf unless the patient's advance directive explicitly confers continuing authority on his agent, even over his later protest. If the protested individual is denied authority under this subsection, authority to make health care decisions shall be determined by any other provisions of the patient's advance directive, or in accordance with § 54.1-2986 or in accordance with any other provision of law.

2009, cc. 211, 268; 2010, c. 792; 2017, cc. 456, 474.

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.