Friday, June 30, 2017

#TXLEGE: UK's AWFUL Charlie Gard case illustrates why Texas needs to abolish non-consensual DNR's....

"And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into My heart."
Jeremiah 7:31

Over the past few days we've been horrified by the Charlie Gard case in the UK:
Any day now, they’ll kill Charlie Gard.

Charlie Gard, born last August, suffers from an inherited disease called infantile onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, generally referred to as “MDDS.” The disease is extraordinarily rare: At present, there are only 16 known cases worldwide. Most patients who suffer from it die in early infancy. Charlie is unable to breathe unaided, suffers from seizures, and has severe brain damage.

For ten months, Charlie has been living in the intensive-care unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. In March, his doctors decided that there was nothing more they could do for him, and they recommended that his parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, withdraw his ventilator. They refused, on the grounds that an untried experimental treatment was available in the United States. The hospital, in accordance with British law, applied to the courts to forestall further treatment. In April, the High Court found for the doctors and against the parents. In May, the Court of Appeal upheld the initial decision. In early June, the Supreme Court agreed. And this week, the European Court of Human Rights — the last court of jurisdiction — refused to intervene. Charlie’s parents have raised enough money from private donations to fund the experimental treatment, but the court decision prohibits his removal to the U.S. Whenever they see fit to do so, the doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital can now remove Charlie’s life support.
Yes, it's as awful as it sounds.

But...did you know that Hospitals in Texas have authority to do basically the same thing?!?

Under current law, hospitals in Texas are allowed to place "Do-Not-Resuscitate" orders on patients without their consent or, in the case of minors or the incapacitated, the consent of their next of kin?!?

Texas Right to Life explained in April [Note: The relevant section begins at the 2 minute mark]:

  • It's not required by law to have patient consent for a DNR order.
  • Patients have secret DNR's placed on them without being informed.
  • A doctor an put a do-no-resuscitate order on a patient against their will.
During this past regular legislative session, HB 2063 was filed by GREG Bonnen.  It was a five paragraph bill that would have required hospitals to obtain patient consent before issuing a DNR.  Unfortunately, after it was slow walked through Byron Cook's State Affairs committee and Todd Hunter's Calendars committee, it was died late in the session after House leadership attempted to use it as a legislative hostage to grease the skids for a variety of special interest bills.

Yes, that's as awful as it sounds.

Fortunately, we have a second chance: Governor Abbott made "strengthening patient protections relating to do-not-resuscitate orders" a special session agenda item.

It'll be interesting to see how Byron Cook and Todd Hunter act the second time around.

Bottom Line: Involuntary do-not-resuscitate orders have always been horrific, but this week's news out of the UK re-illustrates the urgency of the issue.

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