Pro-Life Texans have long known the danger of giving hospital administrators power over life and death decisions. Under the anti-Life Texas 10-Day-Law, countless vulnerable Texans have been denied life-sustaining treatment against their written or spoken wishes or the wishes of their medical surrogate. Patients like Chris Dunn have been denied their rights when a hospital panel decides their cases are “futile.”
The story of the Way family shows why protecting a family’s right to make medical decisions for an ailing loved one in the face of medical uncertainty is so important. Doctors and hospital administrators may not be invested in giving that patient a chance at life, and sometimes that chance leads to nothing short of a miracle. Six years ago, Alexander Way suddenly had to make a medical decision for his wife Beatrice after she had a stroke and heart attack in their home in the United Kingdom. The Daily Mail reports that Beatrice slipped into a coma, and Alexander was “stunned” when doctors were ready to give up on her care, remove her from life support, and donate her organs.
A tense confrontation between Alexander and Beatrice’s medical team ensued. Alexander told the Daily Mail, “The doctors insisted Beatrice had very little brain response and that there was no way she could ever improve.” Doctors insisted that if she did wake from the coma, she would be largely unresponsive and she would be blind. Nonetheless, Alexander continued to speak on his wife’s behalf: “In no uncertain terms I told them, ‘Don’t switch off my wife’s life support.’”
Like many families facing the draconian Texas 10-Day-Law, Alexander was in disbelief that the people who were supposed to be helping Beatrice had so quickly given up on her, deeming her “quality of life” too inferior to continue treatment. He said, “I was stunned, angry, and felt they were ending my wife’s life without considering further treatment. I was adamant that more could be done.” With Alexander’s persistence, more was done. Beatrice was transferred to the care of specialists, and four weeks later she woke from the coma. Her path to recovery was long and difficult, including intensive physical therapy to overcome paralysis induced by the stroke.
Beatrice’s recovery was enough to shock doctors, but then last year Beatrice gave birth to a daughter, Rosemary. Beatrice told the Daily Mail, “[Rosemary] has blossomed into a beautiful, healthy infant. Every day is a reminder of how lucky we are.” She also said, “I am so grateful to Alexander for questioning the doctors who thought my life was over. He saved my life.” If Alexander had not fought for his wife’s continued care, she, and their beloved daughter Rosemary, would not be here today. Their journey has made them passionate advocates for seeking more information before making life and death decisions.
The Ways’ story is a powerful reminder of the grave injustice in Texas law. Once a hospital in Texas invokes the 10-Day-Law, there is nothing families can do if a transfer to another hospital willing to treat the patient cannot be arranged. The decision cannot be appealed. The ongoing fight for justice in the case of Chris Dunn shows how all Texas families are threatened by the Texas 10-Day-Law. Live Action notes that the lack of care shown to patients like Beatrice and Chris is part of a larger anti-Life worldview: “In a culture of death, hard medical cases have become easy to dismiss as throwaway lives.” As Pro-Lifers, we recognize the sanctity of every human Life. For this reason, the law must change.
Join the movement today by demanding justice for Chris Dunn.