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Idaho Anti-Futility Bill Signed into Law

Posted Apr 08 2012 4:46pm
Just a few years ago, Idaho was close to enacting Texas-style legislation permitting healthcare providers to refuse life-sustaining interventions that they deemed inappropriate.  This week, Idaho reversed course 180 degrees.  It has enacted legislation  ( here too ) that directly prohibits providers from refusing requested life-sustaining treatment.  The following amendments are effective on July 1, 2012.

S.B.1348 adds a new section (3) to Idaho Code 39-4514:  
"Assisted feeding or artificial nutrition and hydration may not be withdrawn or denied if its provision is directed by a competent patient in accordance with section 39-4503, Idaho Code, by a patient's health care directive under section 39-4510, Idaho Code, or by a patient's surrogate decision maker in accordance with section 39-4504, Idaho Code. Health care other than assisted feeding or artificial nutrition and hydration may not be withdrawn or denied if its provision is directed by a competent patient in accordance with section 39-4503, Idaho Code, by a patient's health care directive under section 39-4510, Idaho Code, or by a patient's surrogate decision maker in accordance with section 39-4504, Idaho Code, unless such care would be futile care as defined in subsection (6) of this section. Except as specifically provided in chapters 3 and 4, title 66, Idaho Code, health care, assisted feeding or artificial nutrition and hydration, the denial of which is directed by a competent patient in accordance with section 39-4503, Idaho Code, by a patient's health care directive under section 39-4510, Idaho Code, or by a patient's surrogate decision maker in accordance with section 39-4504, Idaho Code, shall be withdrawn and denied in accordance with a valid directive. This subsection does not require provision of treatment to a patient if it would require denial of the same or similar treatment to another patient."


An amended section (6) defines "futile care" (should have stated "futile intervention") as a course of treatment:
"(a) For a patient with a terminal condition, for whom, in reasonable medical judgment, death is imminent within hours or at most a few days whether or not the medical treatment is provided and that in reasonable medical judgment will not improve the patient's condition; or
(b) The denial of which in reasonable medical judgment will not result in or hasten the patient's death."

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