Texas Medical Groups Halting Reform Bill to Stop Pro-Euthanasia Futile Care Law

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 15, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Texas Medical Groups Halting Reform Bill to Stop Pro-Euthanasia Futile Care Law

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 15
, 2009

Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — Medical groups in Texas are drawing the ire of pro-life advocates because they are pushing a phony bill that is holding up legislation that would reform the futile care law that is pushing euthanasia.

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.

As a result, patients like Emilio Gonzales and Andrea Clark are making headlines because they became potential euthanasia victims.

Rep. Bryan Hughes, a Republican, is working with pro-life groups and disability rights advocates for a bill to repeal the law and replace it with one requiring medical centers to provide lifesaving medical treatment until the patient can be transferred to a medical facility that will provide appropriate medical care for the patient.

"No other state in the country has a law that Draconian," Hughes told AP. "The balance of power is completely shifted against the patients and the families."

However, Hughes bill is having trouble gaining momentum because the Texas Medical Association, the Texas Hospital Association, and some hospitals are strongly opposing the bill.

They are also complicating the situation with their own legislation that merely extends the 10-day time limit before a patient could become a euthanasia victim. With legislative deadlines nearing, the Hughes measure needs committee approval or it will die for the legislative session.

If that happens, it’s not good news to Wesley J. Smith, a bioethics author an attorney who monitors such issues. Merely giving families more time rather than requiring lifesaving medical treatment is a joke, to Smith.

"Extending the time families have from ten to more days–as the phony ‘reform’ bill would do–would accomplish nothing other than to validate futile care theory," he says. "More to the point, it would be an almost pointless exercise since Texas hospitals seem to have a tacit understanding that they will honor each other’s futile care determinations."

"What is required is for hospitals that wish to overrule patient/ family values be required to continue treatment pending transfer–otherwise as cost containment becomes increasingly the watchword, the futile care law could be used to dump patients due to their expense of their care," Smith explained.

"But the medical establishment wants their raw power to tell patients and families, in effect, ‘We reserve the right to refuse service,’ to remain unimpeded," he said.

"The time has come to litigate this injustice vigorously, and for lawyers to get into the files of these hospitals and bioethics committees and expose the dirt," Smith concludes.

ACTION: Contact members of the Texas state House and urge strong support for the Hughes bill, HB 3325.

Related web sites:
Texas Legislature – https://www.capitol.state.tx.us
Texas Right to Life – https://www.texasrighttolife.org
Texas House – https://www.house.state.tx.us/welcome.php
Texas Alliance for Life – https://www.TexasAllianceforLife.org

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.