Wayde Luce entered the hospital on January 23 for emergency dialysis treatment. The weeks since then have become a nightmare for Luce and his family as they fight to defend his life. Wayde’s brother, Dale Luce, explained to the Life Legal Defense Foundation that despite Wayde’s advance directive, the expressed wishes of his family, and even a court order mandating care, the hospital has repeatedly refused to provide life-saving treatment. Instead, the hospital is insisting, as is increasingly happening, that they will remove all care for Wayde’s “dignity.”
After being admitted to John Muir Hospital in Concord, California, and receiving powerful sedatives against the wishes of his family, Wayde aspirated vomit and suffered cardiac arrest. Due to the heart attack, Wayde suffered a brain injury that has left him incapacitated. The hospital informed his family that he would not be capable of breathing without a ventilator and would not regain brain function. The Life Legal Defense Foundation reports, “But just a few days later, Wayde started breathing on his own again and is off the ventilator. He can open his eyes and responds to questions by blinking. He can lift his head off his pillow.”
Brain injuries are notoriously misunderstood, and there are documented instances of brain-injured patients appearing to be incapable of comprehension and communication while they are in fact trapped in their bodies, unable to respond but fully aware of their surroundings and events taking place. The term “brain dead” is used to describe brain-injured people who will supposedly never recover cognitive function, but even this has been cast into doubt by scientific developments and notable cases in recent years.
Ignoring these clear indications of improvement in Wayde’s condition and dismissing them as “involuntary,” the hospital has continued to deny life-saving treatment for Wayde, including the dialysis for which he was initially admitted. Dale Luce contacted the Life Legal Defense Foundation as the family’s ordeal unfolded, which is when attorneys with the organization successfully obtained court documents requiring the hospital to continue care in accordance with Wayde’s advanced directive and the wishes of his duly appointed medical power of attorney. Even after the judge ordered the hospital to provide care, Wayde continues to be denied dialysis and blood pressure support.
“It is unconscionable for John Muir Hospital to deny Wayde Luce the medical treatment he needs to survive,” said Life Legal Executive Director Alexandra Snyder. “Wayde’s injuries happened on their watch. The hospital’s role is to facilitate his recovery—not insist on his death.”
Sadly, cases like Wayde’s are becoming more common. Empowered by the anti-Life, pro-suicide lobby, hospital bureaucracies are making the case that a patient’s “dignity” requires the removal of all treatment even if that means ending a patient’s life. Patients who may have a disability are sometimes denied life-saving interventions for no other reason than their perceived inferior “quality of life.”
Texas, which should be a beacon of Pro-Life, pro-liberty legislation protecting patients’ rights and human Life, has anti-Life laws that endanger vulnerable hospital patients. The on-going case of Texas one-year-old, Tinslee Lewis, has brought international attention to the anti-Life Texas 10-Day Rule that allows hospitals to remove care regardless of the wishes of the patient and his or her family. Reforming Texas law to protect innocent human Life is imperative. Tinslee is just one of countless cases of denial-of-treatment cases across Texas. Like Wayde Luce’s case in California, there are many cases like this happening in other states that do not have laws granting sweeping powers over life-and-death decisions like those in Texas. If we are going to protect Texas patients from anti-Life laws and the culture of death, we need strong laws that ensure life-saving treatment and the lawful wishes of patients and their families.