In 2015, the highly publicized plight of American veteran Chris Dunn drew national attention to the healthcare crisis facing Americans. Chris served the nation as an EMT, worked in the Harris County Sheriff’s office, and was a Homeland Security employee. He was sentenced by his physician to an imposed death by removal of basic care when his treatment was deemed “futile” by medical staff at Methodist Hospital in Houston.
In spite of tireless advocacy and legal representation provided by Texas Right to Life, hospital staff ultimately maintained their headstrong intent to end Chris’s Life. Sadly, Chris’s story is not uncommon. In fact, since the passage of the Texas Advance Directives Act seventeen years ago, countless patients in Texas hospitals have fallen victim to discriminatory hospital committees and apathetic medical professionals. This crisis pervades the nation.
Licensed Practical Nurse Julie Grimstad has worked in patient advocacy for more than thirty years. As an advocate for patient rights and conscience protections for medical professionals, Julie has witnessed first-hand the progression of anti-Life sentiment in medical care. “People need to be warned,” Grimstad told us, “that even if their state doesn’t have a medical futility law, their hospitals may have policies that allow medical futility decisions. And that can be worse.”
As executive director of Life is Worth Living, Inc., Grimstad educates Americans about the spectrum of discrimination that patients today face. “We need to protect patients with our laws,” she said. “Our primary concern should not be protecting physicians from liability. Our primary concern should be protecting patients and protecting healthcare providers who can’t conscientiously participate in actions or omissions to impose death.”
Medical futility decisions are among the most insidious and patient-unfriendly practices of modern healthcare. Indeed, Grimstad notes that medical ethics have engaged in a dangerous focal shift “from sanctity of life to quality of life.”
In response to the patient rights and conscience protection crises facing patients and healthcare professionals across the nation, the Pro-Life Healthcare Alliance, a program of Human Life Alliance, has partnered with Texas Right to Life to expose hidden practices and educate Americans who may face patient discrimination either personally or at the side of a loved one. A one-day conference, Healthcare in Crisis: What YOU Need to Know, will take place in Allen, Texas, on Saturday, September 24. Grimstad and fellow experts will share their personal experiences and professional expertise in fighting for patients and will equip attendees with powerful tools for combatting patient discrimination.
For more information and to register for the event, visit ProLifeHealthcare.org