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September 18, 2006

Who gets to make decision on end of life?

Topics: Futile Care Laws

The Chicago Tribune published a report on the Texas futile care law:

"If it had been up to her doctors, the Houston hospital where she was treated and the laws of the state of Texas, Kalilah Roberson-Reese would be dead by now."
"Instead, the severely brain-damaged 29-year-old woman is being cared for in a Lubbock nursing home, where she's become a focal point in a growing struggle over a controversial Texas law that permits hospitals to withdraw life support from patients whose conditions they deem hopeless -- even if family members object."
Garnet Coleman, the state legislator who co-authored the law, believes that doctors should end the lives of patients who they believe can no longer be helped.
"...ethically, a physician should not be forced to do harm to a patient by continuing treatment. With this law, they have the ability to say, `I can't do any more for this patient, and it's wrong to do more.'"
But many doctors often misdiagnose patients as being terminal, and use this law to prematurely end their lives:
"This law allows doctors and hospitals to abandon patients and provides them safe harbor and immunity to do it," said Jerri Ward, an Austin attorney who has filed several lawsuits to prevent doctors from ending treatment. "The Hippocratic oath has morphed from treating illness and saving people's lives to allowing doctors to make subjective quality-of-life decisions about ... who should die."

Read the entire article at the Chicago Tribune

Wesley Smith comments on the infamous Texas law:

Futilitarians are not monsters who want to "kill" people. But they are profoundly misguided: They think they are doing the patients a favor, but are really imposing their values upon a patient and family

Posted by Mary at September 18, 2006 8:06 AM

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