Protection of Conscience Project
Protection of Conscience Project
Service, not Servitude

Service, not Servitude
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2023 Vermont Statutes | Title 18 - Health | Chapter 113 - Patient Choice at End of Life


The following is the protection of conscience provision found in an assisted suicide law.  There is limited protection provided for health care facilities, which can prohibit their physicians from prescribing lethal medications for residents who wish to use them on their premises, but not from prescribing them for those who intend to use them elsehwere.


§ 5285. Limitations on actions

(a) A physician, nurse, pharmacist, or other person shall not be under any duty, by law or contract, to participate in the provision of a lethal dose of medication to a patient.

(b) A health care facility or health care provider shall not subject a physician, nurse, pharmacist, or other person to discipline, suspension, loss of license, loss of privileges, or other penalty for actions taken in good faith reliance on the provisions of this chapter or refusals to act under this chapter.

(c) No physician, nurse, pharmacist, or other person licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by law to deliver health care services in this State shall be subject to civil or criminal liability or professional disciplinary action for acting in good faith compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

(d) Except as otherwise provided in this section and sections 5283, 5289, and 5290 of this title, nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit liability for civil damages resulting from negligent conduct or intentional misconduct by any person.

§ 5286. Health care facility exception

A health care facility may prohibit a physician from writing a prescription for a dose of medication intended to be lethal for a patient who is a resident in its facility and intends to use the medication on the facility’s premises, provided the facility has notified the physician in writing of its policy with regard to the prescriptions. Notwithstanding subsection 5285(b) of this title, any physician who violates a policy established by a health care facility under this section may be subject to sanctions otherwise allowable under law or contract.