Euthanasia in Texas

| 1 Comment

The Texas Advance Directives Act of 1999 (signed by then Gov. George W. Bush) appears to give health care providers broad power over the lives of their patients:

§ 166.046. PROCEDURE IF NOT EFFECTUATING A DIRECTIVE OR TREATMENT DECISION.
(a) If an attending physician refuses to honor a patient's advance directive or a health care or treatment decision made by or on behalf of a patient, the physician's refusal shall be reviewed by an ethics or medical committee. The attending physician may not be a member of that committee. The patient shall be given life-sustaining treatment during the review.
(b) The patient or the person responsible for the health care decisions of the individual who has made the decision regarding the directive or treatment decision:
(1) may be given a written description of the ethics or medical committee review process and any other policies and procedures related to this section adopted by the health care facility;
(2) shall be informed of the committee review process not less than 48 hours before the meeting called to discuss the patient's directive, unless the time period is waived by mutual agreement;

Wesley Smith write's:

Texas has a terrible law that permits an unelected, self-appointed, anonymous ethics committee to forcibly remove care. Once that happens, the patient has 10 days to find another hospital. These are closed proceedings. I am unaware of any records kept of the evidence presented at the hearings or the deliberations.

These are life and death decisions and it seems to me that there may be a significant constitutional issue here of immense importance. A law permits private decision-making that will result in death without even the right to a public hearing, to cross examine witnesses, or a formal appeal. Someday, someone is going to attack this statute and its constitutional implementation frontally in federal court. I have already urged some attorneys in private that they do just that. Let us hope that fairness and simple justice prevail.

Meanwhile, hospitals in Texas will continue to assemble unaccountable and private "independent committees" of staff members who will recommend the termination of their patients, such as Andrea Clarke.

1 Comment

It seems to me this is an example of "bait and switch selling" of this law. I sincerely doubt that it was the stated legislative intent to make this a euthanasia law. So we need to ask, "What was the legislative intent" and get the Texas lawmakers to correct this. And investigate those who pushed it for ulterior motives.




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