Andrea Clark is Safe, Moving to Chicago! in Danger

| 6 Comments | 1 TrackBack

Update: Please pray that everything continues to go forward... I'll keep you informed as information is received.

Update 2 (5:18pm est): Andrea's family has run into a significant problem. There is apparently a question as to whether the level of care needed by Andrea can be provided by the IL facility. Please ask St. Luke's [832-355-1000 - more contact info] to give assurances that life-sustaining treatments will be provided to Andrea pending a transfer.

Update 3: The transfer fell apart - click here for the latest.

Original post below:

Melanie Childers wrote a thoughtful letter to you, all those who fought and prayed for the life of her sister, Andrea Clark:

My family has made the decision to move our sister to the hospital in Chicago. Thank God there is someone willing to take her. And, really, it is best to get her out of Texas, because of the futile care law here.

St. Luke's played hardball with us on this issue. We were told that we could make the decision today and they would pay the entire amount of $14 thousand to move her, but if we made the decision tomorrow, they would only pay half of it, and if it were the day after tomorrow, they would pay nothing.

As you know, I'm a Democrat, but one that is against abortion. I agree with the Republicans on that issue, at least. After this experience, though, I have to tell you: I am in absolute awe of the power that the right to life people generate. I, of course, first posted on Democratic Underground, and I have to give them some credit: they let my post stand against the rules about posting something like this under the wrong topic. They also let it stand, even though it had people's (my sister's and mine) personal numbers in it. And, of course, some people there forwarded it to other blogs. And everyone there was very supportive in their comments, as well.

But the pro-life people stepped forward and just absolutely ground St. Luke's into submission on this issue. You have, without a doubt, saved my sister's life. I want you to know that. Without the pro-life/right to life people stepping in from the very first of this fight for Andrea, we would have lost. I have never in my life seen such a centered, focused and energized group of people.


You used that energy and focus to do some good in this world and you didn't care whether you were fighting for a Democrat's life or a Republican's. Now, that's conviction.

There are not enough words in the English language to tell you how grateful I and my family are, for what you people have done. When we protested at St. Luke's last Saturday, the strangers that showed up were people that had had relatives killed at St. Luke's in much the same way that St. Luke's had planned to kill my sister. These people hadn't known any better, and they hadn't known that there was such a powerful group of individuals out there, devoted to this one cause, that might be able to help them.

Because of the people in the pro-life movement, a light has been shown on the truth, for all of Texans; indeed, for all of the world to see. May God bless you for your works. And, please, do not hesitate to ask myself or my family, for anything that you may ever need in order to continue your fight for these precious lives. We are here for you and your cause, as you were here for us in ours.

Melanie Childers

May God continue to bless Andrea and her family as they open a new chapter in their lives.

Background information: click here

Updates: It looks like Andrea is "safe" - at least she will receive treatment - and bloggers (in particular John Hawkings), readers and alternate media sources (Spirit Daily and WorldnetDaily) made a difference. However, TX law remains the same and many like Andrea will suffer the fate doctors had prescribed for her. Someone needs to challenge the constitutionality of this law. In the meantime, I'm thankful for courageous attorneys, such as Jerri Lynn Ward, who are diligent advocates for the oppressed.

Wesley Smith responds:

It is ridiculous that Clarke has to be moved at all, but at least she will get the treatment she wants and needs to sustain her life. Under the Texas statute, St. Luke's is not responsible for paying for the transportation of a transfer after a futility determination, but they will be paying in this case. I am convinced that this would not have happened but for the heat people put on St. Luke's Hospital.... Now, Texas Legislature: Change the law.
Here's a statement from the Hospital:
"We are delighted that this issue has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties," said Rosemary Luquire, senior vice president and chief quality officer for the St. Luke's Episcopal Health Care System. Another senior official said the hospital's position had been about "compassion and the best interests of the patient."

6 Comments

It's welcome news that the family achieved a resolution that they (and one hopes the patient) wanted.

Not to be a wet blanket, however, but I think it's important to point out that there was no reason they couldn't have had this same outcome on the very first day, and no reason to suggest that the hospital was "ground down" by activist clamoring.

The state law that the family blames for their predicament explicitly stipulates that the patient or guardian may request transfer to another facility, and the hospital not only may not oppose this request but is required to assist both in finding such a facility and conducting the transfer. The law prohibits termination of treatment while the transfer is being arranged, grants 10 days to arrange the transfer, and also provides a procedure for extension of the 10-day period if it appears there is a possibility of finding a receptive facility with further searching. In fact, the family found a receptive facility in only a week (though they had to look out of state).

In other words, what they got through "the pro-life/right to life people stepping in" was exactly what the law stipulates they were entitled to in the first place, and which the hospital could not have prevented and apparently never tried to prevent. The entire controversy - including charges that there is a local conspiracy among hospitals not to take patients in transfer - was made up by the family; the solution they finally got was one they could have had on the first day, which they were always legally entitled to have, and which they were never blocked from seeking.

As for "hardball" - note also that the law explicitly states that the costs of transfering the patient are the responsibility of the patient. The hospital had no legal obligation to pay anything whatsoever - but when they offered $14,000, presto!, the family found a willing facility the very same day, then complained that the hospital had forced them to do so.

The relevant law is Texas Health and Safety Code Section 166.046. It can be found here.

In short, the outcome of this case is exactly what the patient was always entitled to as a matter of law, and which the hospital never attempted to block. It was arranged in barely a week, well within the statutory 10-day period not to mention the statutorily-authorized extension period. There is no evidence the hospital failed to recognize any of the legal rights the patient enjoys, or ever attempted to prevent the family reaching the outcome they did. In fact, the hospital contributed thousands of dollars toward costs that the law explicitly states are the patient's responsibility, while also providing other legally-mandated care and assistance during the process. And all of this would have been exactly the same without any controversy or wild accusations. It doesn't actually appear that the "pro-life community" accomplished anything at all in this case other than libel against the hospital.

It took them 7 days to find the hospital to transfer her. The hospital didn't offer them 14k, they offered to move her to the hospital they found. It wasn't as if they miraculously were offered 14k then found the hospital. Don't mix up your facts.

There is great reason that the final outcome could not have been accomplished on the first day. Evidence of this is the many families who have lost a loved one through this process and who came forward during the recent protest. Please explain for them how the law gave their now deceased loved ones protection. Evidence of this can be found by simply discussing the matter with the family or their attorney - have you? They've been readily available and would have appreciated your advise on the first day. According to them, there were no options one week ago.

Evidence of this is reflected by the fact that no facility was found in all of Texas that would take Andrea, despite a frantic search. Do you really think that the family wants to move their sister/mother to IL for treatment? Have you thought about the inherent risks of moving someone across the country who is in a fragile state? Is it in the best interest of the patient to transfer them from TX to IL? And why should Andrea and her family incur the costs related to denied treatment when Andrea had a means to pay for such treatment?

The hospital apparently disagrees with your comment as well, at least according to this local reporter:

Hoping to defuse the latest local controversy involving Texas' futile-care law, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital agreed Thursday to transfer a severely ill heart patient to a facility in suburban Chicago.
The family and their attorney wanted more time to find a facility to transfer her to:
The agreement to transfer Clark today to Glenshire Nursing & Rehab Centre, a long-term acute-care facility in Richton Park, Ill., came Thursday evening, at the conclusion of lengthy negotiations between St. Luke's and Clark's family. The family had preferred she stay in Texas and wanted St. Luke's to extend the 10-day deadline so they could continue searching for another in-state facility. In the end, her sister, Lanore Dixon, said the family felt it had no other options.
All they wanted was more time - time the law does not provide. And yes, more time is needed:
Those cases and others — Ward filed a petition Thursday in Austin in another such case — prompted the reassessment going on in the capital, said Greg Hooser, an attorney and consultant leading the meetings. He said the reforms likely will include an extension of the 10-day notification period.
Regarding whether or not liberal, conservative and pro-life bloggers made a difference, all I have is the information from a family, confirmed in part by news reports, that they were in desperate need and were helped by the efforts of these groups.

This is wonderful news. I'm so glad everyone was able to help Andrea! And Kudos to the D.U. for allowing that post to stay up, and for all the support Andrea and her sister received there! :o)

Mr. Keith: Have you ever had a loved one fighting for their lives in a hospital that has decided her life is not worth living?

Until you have, I suggest you be more charitable in your words and your assessment of what is "easy." Making life and death decisions for a loved one is never easy, let alone under that kind of gun.

Mr. Keith is a Ph.D. student in "bioethics," and therefore explains his whole dishonest argumentation.

Bioethics is nothing more than old-fashioned eugenics given a new coat of paint. It belongs in the trash bin instead of becoming standard medical practice.

It's appalling such an insane "philosophy" EVER took hold.




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