Texas Legislature Debates Bill to Scrap 10-Day Futility Care Law

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 16, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Texas Legislature Debates Bill to Scrap 10-Day Futility Care Law Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 16
, 2007

Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — Texas legislators debated a bill on Thursday that would stop hospitals from involuntarily euthanizing some of their most vulnerable patients. The legislation revises the futility care law that has come under national condemnation for allowing medical facilities to give families just 10 days to find places to care for their loved ones.

With names such as Emilio Gonzales and Andrea Clark making the headlines, pro-life advocates and disability rights activists have complained about the futility care law.

The statute allows hospitals and other medical facilities that believe a patient is too far gone to help to give their families just 10 days to find another facility that will offer the treatment or lifesaving medical care.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee head testimony in favor of the measure, which would void the 10-day allowance.

Sen. Bob Deuell, a physician, is the sponsor of the bill, Senate Bill 439, which would still allow doctors and hospitals to relinquish care of a patient but only after the patient has been successfully transferred to another physician or hospital willing to honor the patient’s directive.

"A patient is not treated in isolation – there are friends and family to consider," he told members of the committee. "We cannot expect most family members to accept a decision made by [health-care professionals] who make life-and-death decisions every day."

But others in the medical community opposed it and even called it a "political and fundraising stunt" by groups who disagree with the law.

"My own belief is this is part of a national political strategy," Dr. Robert Fine, director of Baylor Health Care System’s office of clinical ethics, said, according to an AP report.

In an email to LifeNews.com, Texas Right to Life indicated it strongly supported the measure.

"This bill will protect the lives of our ailing loved ones from subjective, quality of life judgments imposed on them by doctors and the substandard medical care resulting from these arbitrary value judgments," the pro-life group said.

"Senate Bill 439 would afford the families of dying loved ones precious time at the bedside, rather than thrusting them into a frenzied web of the transfer-seeking process," TRTL added.

Related web sites:
Texas Right to Life – https://www.texasrighttolife.com