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April 29, 2006

Problem with Andrea Clark's Transfer - Updated

Topics: Action Items

Andrea's family has run into a significant problem with her transfer. There is apparently a question as to whether the level of care needed by Andrea can be provided by the IL facility. Please ask St. Luke's [832-355-1000 - more contact info] to give assurances that life-sustaining treatments will be provided to Andrea pending a transfer.

Update 1 (9/28 9:45pm EST): RightWingNews and MyVastRightWingConspiracy have the latest information - unfortunate news about Andrea Clark and St. Luke's Hospital. Before I go into the details, please contact the hospital (832-355-1000) and express your concern for Andrea's life and their treatment of her. Right now your polite but firm call may be the only chance she has.

I would suggest friends of Andrea and her family organize a protest outside the hospital - I'm sure you'll find plenty of blogs and readers who would be willing to help.

Update 2 (4/29/2006) - Melanie said her attorney is trying to get assurances (in writing) that St. Luke's won't disconnect Andrea from life support:

She said that they told her that they won't do it over the weekend. However, they have the right to disconnect Andrea, according to the law, on Sunday, April 30,
unless they agree to do otherwise in writing. This means that, at any moment, on Sunday, or afterwards, they can go up to Andrea's room and turn off her respirator, without notifying anyone of this decision, without her family by her side as she dies, without allowing anyone to say goodbye.

Something has got to be done about this.

I've received a number of emails suggesting a protest but not from those in Texas.

From RightWingNews:

I've just spoken with Andrea's sisters, Melanie Childers and Lanore Dixon, today, as well as Andrea's lawyer, Jerri Ward.

Unfortunately, St. Luke's has reneged on the deal. Lanore told me that about 20 minutes before Andrea was supposed to be moved to the Illinois facility, St. Luke's told the family the move was off. It seems that St. Luke's decided at the last minute that Glenshire Nursing & Rehab Centre in Illinois isn't equipped to care for Andrea, which is a bit puzzling, since Lanore told me they helped set up the transfer in the first place.

This means that Andrea's life is still in danger. Jerri tells me that the hospital has only promised, in writing, to not pull the plug on Andrea on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. But, from Tuesday on, they're reserving the right to pull her life support at any time after giving "reasonable" notice to the family. Is there such a thing as "reasonable" notice that you're about to end an innocent woman's life against her wishes and the wishes of her family?

In any case, on Tuesday, the hospital has a meeting scheduled about Andrea and the one sliver of good news is that the family says they have a doctor with privileges at St. Luke's who is willing to go in and argue that Melanie is not medically futile. Whether that will make a difference is impossible to say at this point.

As John notes, St. Lukes suggested/found the facility in Chicago to begin with and continues to assert that it is acting with "compassion and the best interests of the patient."

MyVastRightWingConspiracy posts the following letter from Andrea's sister, Lanore Dixon:

This afternoon, twenty minutes before Andrea was due to be transported by ambulance to the airport, her doctor (or rather, the one filling in for her doctor who has gone on vacation this week-how VERY convenient!) came into her room and informed me she would not be transferred to the Chicago facility after all. After questioning the doctor I learned that someone messed up-I don't know which end the foul up occurred, but this all goes to show the danger of being forced to choose a healthcare facility due to pressure of an ethics committee ruling... This so called LTAC was nothing more than a nursing home with dialysis machine in the basement. They had no ability to administer the medications Andrea requires.

Somehow, the blogosphere knew about the inadequacy of the LTAC before either the family or the hospital did-probably due to me posting the new mailing address where Andrea can recieve cards and letters. Don't use the Illinois address, folks!

[snip - read the rest here]

St. Luke's has agreed not to pull Andrea's life support at least until Tuesday. On Tuesday, a committee of doctors from St. Luke's will meet to discuss how to proceed with Andrea's case. Andrea's new doctor-a doctor who shares our values about the sacredness of life-will take over her care on Tuesday and will fight for her right to live. Let us all hope and pray that the committee meeting on Tuesday is chaired by doctors who have a reverence for life and not a former abortionist like the St. Luke's ethics committee chair.

Please pass this info on. I'm sending it to a few prolife blogs, but I'm using the computer in patient services and don't have much time.

Thanks, Lanore Dixon

Yes, it's outrageous. Please contact the hospital (832-355-1000) and if you live in the area organize a protest.

Cross-posted: ProLifeBlogs

Posted by tim at April 29, 2006 5:21 AM

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