This week, the Virginia Legislature passed H.B. 226, which establishes a process whereby a physician may cease to provide health care that has been determined to be medically or ethically inappropriate for a patient. The key new language provides that "if, at the end of the 14-day period [to attempt a transfer], the conflict remains unresolved . . . the physician may cease to provide the treatment that the physician has determined to be medically or ethically inappropriate subject to the right of court review by any party." This material amendment to a long-standing Virginia law (famously cited in the Baby K case) places Virginia right behind Texas and in front of California in terms of providing a "green light medical futility" law that empowers clinicians to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment even without patient or surrogate consent. Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is a physician and likely to sign the enrolled bill.
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