« An Elmo Christmas | Main | Been There; Done That »

Comments

Greg

I am curious as to what is your take with the Texas Futile Care Law? It was a law passed in 1999 under then Governor George W Bush. While not fully versed in this law, what I have found is these facts:

Texas Futile Care Law not only allows doctors to ignore the wishes of a patient's family and any advanced directives the patient may have left, but they can also ignore the wishes of a patient who is conscious and asserting their own, current desire to live!

Moreover, the law allows for the termination of life-sustaining treatment for patients with "irreversible" conditions (i.e., conditions from which they will not recover and which leave them unable to care for themselves) even if their higher brain functions are completely normal. The law allows that a fully competent patient may be served by his health-care provider with a 10-day notice to find another provider or have his plug pulled; it even provides that the patient has the right to attend the committee meeting at which his fate is to be decided. (Sec. 166.046) And the law provides no substantive guidance other than the provider's decision that the requested life-sustaining care would be "inappropriate."

In other words Texas Futile Care Law, would have allowed Terri Schiavo's feeding tube to be disconnected if her health care provider so decided, and if her family couldn't find another provider willing to take the case, even if her higher brain functions were entirely normal (rather than, as appears to be the case, entirely absent), even if she were awake and asking to be allowed to live.

Lanore Dixon

Greg, You have outlined the law clearly. I would add that the current futile care law in Texas strips patients of their right to due process for nothing more than getting sick. As long as the insurance companies are in charge of our health care, we cannot expect it to get better. Andrea had Blue Cross/Blue Shield--it was excellent insurance and she was covered to the end of her life. But I suspect the hospital was more concerned with their relationship with the insurance company than with Andrea's care or her rights as a citizen.

If we want to preserve patient autonomy, we need to cut out the insurance companies. I'm working toward universal health care for all people of our nation.

The comments to this entry are closed.