Texas SB 303 – Dispelling Misinformation

Actions by Texas Right to Life, an independent Catholic pro-life organization, has aroused the Catholic Bishops of Texas who say Texas Right to Life disseminates inaccurate information regarding Senate Bill 303 and House Bill 1444.

Here below is the inaccurate statement of opposition to the above mentioned bills:

State and national Pro-Life leaders oppose Senate Bill 303

This next link is to the Texas Catholic Conference’s statement:

Action Alert: Encourage Texas Legislators to Improve End-of-Life Care

A casual read of the two clearly show stark differences. In this instance, Texas Right to Life is in error. SB 303 improves end of life care and family involvement and does not establish the alleged “death panels”.

For the record, and to dispel further misinformation, Senator Bob Deuell is solidly pro-life and he opposes ‘death panels’. However, your opinions help build support for this important bill.

Two actions needed:

1 – Please contact State Senator Bob Deuell to tell him you support SB 303. Use this convenient ‘contact form’ http://www.deuell.senate.state.tx.us/#form or call one of his offices listed at the bottom of this contact form.

2 – Share this information with your email list, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter accounts

9 thoughts on “Texas SB 303 – Dispelling Misinformation

  1. You’re pretty gravely mistaken and the one guilty of spreading misinformation. From what I know about researching the organization, Texas Right to Life is not a Catholic org. So, you got that wrong right off the bat, it’s no surprise you’ve got other information wrong, too.

    SB 303 is bad news, plain and simple. The Advanced Directives Law is terrible and 303 only makes it worse. Not only does is codify the terrible law, it addresses worse things that were never even spoken about in the original law. Until you’ve dealt with the hospital ethics committees and had your family member’s life ripped away from him against all your wishes, you will never understand how terrible current law is and how 303 makes it worse.

    The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops is just pissed that someone didn’t agree with them and the other “prolife” orgs. Even if I did agree with the bishops, from what I saw and how they and the other “prolife” orgs acted towards Texas RTL, I couldn’t support them. It was plain wrong.

    1. Laura,

      It is the Texas Catholic Conference that refutes statements by Texas Right to Life. Take your argument up with them.

      Now that you have become the arbiter of all that is right and wrong, perhaps you’ll send a memo to God. I don’t think he new about your exalted position.

      I support SB 303 based on the facts, not talking ignorantly points distributed for folks like you.

  2. Maybe someone can shed some light on this for me. I just read the bill and from my understanding, it allows doctors the right to refuse life sustaining treatment if it is their opinion that it would not help the patient regardless of how the patient feels or their family. This would in turn allow the hospital’s “ethics committee” to determine if further treatment is allowed or the patient is transferred. I am not up to date on any laws on the books now but if this is the case, there is nothing anyone can say about this bill except that it is another branch of socialistic medicine that we are being forced to endure.

    1. Kinney,

      I appreciate your comments. I added a link above to SB 303 text.

      I suggest you follow the process toward DNR (do not resuscitate).

      Starting at the end, working backward: Lacking any contact with family, yes, the decision for DNR falls to the attending physician. The bill explicitly states: “(c) Before placing a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order in a patient’s medical record, the physician or the facility’s personnel shall make a reasonably diligent effort to contact or cause to be contacted the surrogate…”

      The bill protects the patient and his/her family by requiring the attending physician to make “diligent effort” to contact family or legal custodian before placing a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order in a patient’s medical record, the physician or the facility’s personnel shall make a reasonably diligent effort to contact or cause to be contacted the surrogate.

      As Rush Limbaugh famously and frequently says, “words have meaning” – diligent means: ‘careful and persevering in carrying out tasks or duties’; ‘carried out with care and perseverance’.

      As someone who has written and executed contracts for many, many years, I see language that is precise and specific with clear obligations for all parties legally involved in the DNR decision.

  3. I can appreciate your response but after reading this bill again, I am not sure you are explaining the issues I have concerns about. To help with this I am including locations of the bill which need clarification.

    SECTION 5. Section 166.045(c), Health and Safety Code, is
    amended to read as follows:
    (c) If an attending physician disagrees with [refuses to
    comply with] a patient’s directive or a health care or treatment
    decision of a patient or of a surrogate made on behalf of an
    incompetent patient, and the attending physician does not wish to
    follow the procedure established under Section 166.046,
    life-sustaining treatment shall be provided to the patient, but
    only until a reasonable opportunity has been afforded for the
    transfer of the patient to another physician or health care
    facility willing to comply with the health care [directive] or
    treatment decision.

    SECTION 7. Section 166.046, Health and Safety Code, is
    amended by amending Subsections (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (e-1), and
    (g) and adding Subsections (a-1), (a-2), (a-3), (a-4), (a-5),
    (a-6), (a-7), and (b-1) to read as follows:
    (a) If an attending physician disagrees with [refuses to
    honor] a patient’s advance directive or a health care or treatment
    decision [made by or on behalf] of a patient or of a surrogate made
    on behalf of an incompetent patient, the disagreement [physician’s
    refusal] shall be reviewed by an ethics or medical committee under
    this section.

    These two statements in the bill text concern me in that we are giving the doctors and hospitals authority over the patients and their families as to the treatment they receive. I can understand there are times when nothing further can be done and making the patient comfortable is the main concern. Usually when this occurs, the patient or family is usually on board since the decision is made together. My concern though is the way this is written, it allows a doctor or facility to determine to when that point is reached regardless of what the patient or family wants. The only reason I can see for this is to control costs.

    I too listen to Rush and remember him talking about “Death Panels” in Obama’s Healthcare plan. These panels were described as panels that would determine if treatment was necessary which would allow these treatments to be rationed out at the panel’s discretion. Kind of sounds the same to me as what this bill is about.

    1. Ask yourself, “What if the physician did nothing at all?”

      What you are reading is known as a “medical protocol”. An on-line medical dictionary defines a medical protocol as “a detailed written set of instructions to guide the care of a patient or to assist the practitioner in the performance of a procedure.”

      Just over nine years ago a surgeon performed a quintuple bypass on my heart. This procedure performed on me carried high risk of failure, due to certain complications. My surgeon followed a precise medical protocol, step by step. If the outcome was successful, there were precise things to do; if unsuccessful, other precise things to do.

      In real life people die in this country on average just under 7,000 per day, 365 days a year. I know Americans don’t like to think about death, but it’s a part of life. We are born, we live a while and die – just like that.

      Back to the discussion about SB 303, this is a reasonable medical protocol for Texas physicians to follow. But it is most assuredly not a “death panel”, as the naysayers claim.

      Do you suppose it is improbable physicians could possibly disagree when reviewing the same data? Naturally, they can. Unlike the TV docs, physicians are very ordinary people with opinions.

      What the bill does is it sets priorities:

      Family first authority

      Surrogates second authority

      Physicians third authority

      If the attending physician disagrees with the first two authorities, there is a protocol for a second, third or fourth professional opinion.

      With regard to Senator Deuell, Doctor Robert Deuell, I have known him for several years. He is staunchly pro-life and compassionate. I attribute these qualities, in part, to his childhood.

      I know there are folks out there who would criticize Dr. Deuell even if he could raise people from the dead. When I say “I know”, I mean I known such people personally.

      I invite you to set aside the political rhetoric, read the bill for exactly what it says. If you do, you will see it’s quite simply a medical protocol that is codified into state law to protect vulnerable patients from a physician who just might see himself or herself on a level equal to God.

    2. Kinney,

      Is it your opinion the attending physician have no authority whatsoever?

      Apparently, I don’t see what you see. What I see is the highest authority resides with family, second a legal surrogate, last of all the attending physician.

  4. Why tell us what is in the bill when you could publish it or provide a link so we could read it for ourselves? Do you think we are too stupid or do you have an ulterior motive for not giving us a link to the actual text of the bill?

  5. Well, P. Muench,

    As a rule my readers are thoughtful, intelligent people who require no “spoon fed” information. We don’t always agree and this blog serves the purpose of reasoning, one with another. They use the website of the Texas Legislature to read the bill without prompting from me. Regarding some means of determining whether or not you are “stupid”, I defer judgement, leaving that matter between you and God.

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