If you’re ailing and in a Texas hospital, who should decide if you have the right to live: you or a committee of hospital administrators?
Right now, an American hero is fighting for his right to make that decision from his hospital bed at Houston Methodist Hospital. David Christopher “Chris” Dunn is one of countless Texans who have been victimized by the draconian Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA), enacted by the Texas Legislature in 1999. The law – which benefits the medical lobby and jeopardizes medically vulnerable Texans – protects the financial and discriminatory interests of hospitals and physicians by abrogating the civil liberties of patients.
When a hospital or physician determines for any reason that they disagree with a patient’s decision about his or her own medical treatment and invokes TADA, Texas law protects those healthcare providers as they remove life-sustaining treatment from the patient even when doing so means overriding the patient’s desire and right to live—and even when the treatment is benefitting the patient. The law does not require that the hospital inform the patient or family about the reasons or basis for the removal of treatment, which could include financial reasons, discrimination, or subjective quality of life value judgments about the life of the patient.
Chris, who has served Texas and the nation as an EMT, in the Harris County Sheriff’s office, and Homeland Security employee, received his death sentence when Methodist invoked the TADA statutory process last month. After the hospital announced that care would be forcibly removed from Chris against his will, Chris’s family contacted Texas Right to Life, and, with legal aid, an extension of the ten-day waiting period was secured. (The law requires this ten-day period ostensibly to provide time for a patient to transfer to another facility that will accept him and follow his medical directive.).
A Harris County judge has granted two consecutive two-week extensions thus far, but Houston Methodist Hospital has countered these interventions with additional court filings to remove Chris’s mother from the process. His mother, Evelyn, has been vigilant in protecting Chris since he is intermittently sedated. In this video, a conscious and alert Chris Dunn pleads for legal assistance from his attorneys.
Most Texans are incredulous upon learning that a patient who is conscious and communicating his desire to live can be killed by the forcible removal of life-sustaining care, which is euthanasia by hospital committee. But this is exactly the scenario you just saw in this powerful video.
What makes the Texas Advance Directives Act even more despicable is the airtight power of the hospital to kill patients without any recourse to appeal the death sentence imposed by the hospital committee. That’s right – the final arbiter over the hospital’s fatal decision is the hospital!
For this reason, Texas Right to Life has been at-the-ready with pro bono legal counsel equipped to help countless patients and their families navigate the mind-boggling labyrinth of the hospital system for many years. TADA is an anti-Life, anti-Texan law and endangers all hospitalized patients, and particularly the disabled and the indigent who may not be able to pay for their care.
In no other state are patients subjected to this level of legally-protected abuse of power among hospitals and physicians. Texas Right to Life has spent the last decade working to repeal TADA and restore the Right to Life of hospitalized Texans at the mercy of the powerful medical lobby year after year.
Enough is enough. Join Texas Right to Life to help Chris see Christmas.