April 1, 2014
A candidate jockeying to win Texas’ SD-2 senate seat repeatedly claims SB 303, a bill authored by Dr. Bob Deuell, provides for “death panels“. This ignorant claim brings to mind something Daniel Patrick Moynihan said: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.“
There is a little one must know, if one wishes to have the facts on his or her side.
It’s a Fact
- Under present law, hospitals can remove life supports within 10 days, if an alternate care facility cannot be found.
- All Texas pro-life groups signed off on do not resuscitate (DNR) procedures in 1999 and 2007 – Now some oppose, in large part for pecuniary reasons.
- Dr. Deuell authored a bill, SB 303, that extended 10 days to 28, thereby providing more time to relocate a patient to an extended care facility.
- SB 303 also simplified matters for family and legal guardians in that they can participate in the disposition of the patient without going to court.
Case in Point – Terry Mace
“Former Army Staff Sgt. Terry Mace, 43, collapsed of a heart attack while talking to a friend at his home in Killeen, Texas, March 6. He was hospitalized shortly after and was initially unresponsive, Mace’s father’s attorney, Stephen Casey, said. Mace has been at the center of a legal battle between his father, Terry Mace Sr., who is fighting to keep him on life support, and his estranged wife, who has attempted to terminate it.”
Terry’s dad persuaded a judge to award the father temporary guardianship, thereby preventing Terry’s premature death, as his wife wanted. Terry was lucky. Far too many are not. Terry Mace is now recovering. But, his story could have ended the way another’s did nine years ago.
Consider the case of Teresa Marie “Terri” Schiavo who languished through a 12-year court battle before her husband won. Her parents wanted to take full responsibility for her. Her husband wanted her dead. Husband won and he directed the hospital to remove her feeding tube. Over the next several days, that Terri starved to death. Read: The Whole Terri Schiavo Story
How Would SB 303 Have Changed Things?
Terry’s dad would have needed only to go to the hospital, instead of having to hire a lawyer and go before a judge. His dad would have been able to acquire his son’s medical records and had more time to find an alternative facility. The hospital would have been required to administer nutrition and hydration unless they further harmed Terry.
Bob Hall’s campaign ignorantly labels hospital ethics committees that have been around for years “death panels” as though Dr. Deuell’s SB 303 was crafting something sinister and unusual.
For example, Parkland Hospital’s ethics committee incorporates doctors, nurses, social workers, religious and spiritual leaders, administrators (managers), lawyers, and people from the community, thereby assuring broad interests served on behalf of patients and all parties involved.
“This committee helps patients and health care providers think about, talk about, and make choices at times when there are questions about values, beliefs, or choosing the right thing to do. ” – Parkland website
My Choice For Senate District 2
I voted for Dr. Bob Deuell in the primary. I’ll vote for him in the runoff election, May 27 and I invite you to vote likewise.
For more information about my choice, check out Dr. Deuell’s campaign website at http://bobdeuell.org/