Refusing Medical Treatment in Washington, D.C.
Advocating on behalf of patients whose rights were violated by doctors
One of the freedoms we have in this country is the right to refuse medical treatment. A patient who is given treatment against his or her express wishes is a victim of medical malpractice. Proving it takes an in-depth knowledge of the laws that govern healthcare in Washington, D.C., as well as in West Virginia, and an in-depth knowledge of your constitutional rights.
At Paulson & Nace, PLLC, we offer comprehensive, meticulous representation for patients whose refusal of care was denied – either by a healthcare provider or by their own family members and guardians. These are highly complex cases that require both time and resources to present properly. Our attorneys do not give up on cases that take a long time to prove; partner Barry Nace once litigated a case for 18 years. If you were given treatment against your will, you can rely on us to stay with you until the end.
The laws are incredibly detailed
Washington, D.C., and West Virginia have some common ground when it comes to the rights of refusal, but they are upheld in different ways. For example:
In Washington, D.C.
- Parents may seek a religious exemption from having their child immunized.
- Denying a child medical care for religious reasons is NOT considered child abuse.
- All competent adults may refuse medical treatment provided they are informed about all aspects of that treatment; thus, a patient must give informed non-consent for medical care.
- Doctors must comply with living wills or advance healthcare directives provided by patients or by the patients’ appointed guardians if the patient cannot speak for him or herself.
In West Virginia
- All competent adults may refuse medical treatments, including lifesaving treatments.
- Doctors must follow any advance directives or living wills that include end-of-life or refusal of treatment measures.
- If an adult is incapacitated, the person granted power to make healthcare decisions must follow the wishes of the incapacitated adult if those wishes are known, and must make a judgment call that is in the best interests of that patient if his/her wishes are not known.
- “If there is a conflict between the person's expressed directives, the physician orders for scope of treatment form and the decisions of the medical power of attorney representative or surrogate, the person's expressed directives shall be followed.”
- All children must be immunized.
- Parents who withheld medical treatment that led to the neglect and subsequent death of their child are granted an exemption if the reason for withholding treatment was religious.
These are but a sample of the intricate, complicated laws governing the right to refuse medical treatment in Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. Whether the grounds are religious, based in law through a will or power of attorney, relate to patients in vegetative states or based on the constitutional right to refuse affects how your case can and should proceed. The lawyers of Paulson & Nace understand each of these arguments, and we put our considerable experience and skills behind every case we take.
Learn more about your right to refuse medical treatment
The laws governing your right to refuse are detailed and complex; you want an attorney who understands them in depth. Paulson & Nace, PLLC, provides comprehensive representation for patients and their families throughout Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. To learn more, please call 202-463-1999 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.