This week, Virginia introduced a new bill (H.B. 2153) that would strengthen and clarify that state’s long-standing futile care law.
CURRENT VIRGINIA LAW
Current law provides that “Nothing in this article shall be construed to require a physician to prescribe or render health care to a patient that the physician determines to be medically or ethically inappropriate. . . . If the conflict remains unresolved, the physician shall make a reasonable effort to transfer the patient to another physician who is willing to comply with the request . . . . The physician shall provide . . . a reasonable time of not less than fourteen 14 days to effect such 27 transfer. During this period, the physician shall continue to provide any life-sustaining care . . . .”
The bill would add the following language. “If, at the end of the 14-day period, the physician has been unable to transfer the patient to another physician who is willing to comply with the request of the patient, the terms of the advance directive, the decision of the agent or person authorized to make decisions pursuant to § 54.1-2986, or the Durable Do Not Resuscitate Order despite reasonable efforts, the physician may cease to provide care that he has determined to be medically or ethically inappropriate.”