Top patients’ rights groups and leaders support repeal of 10-Day Rule

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In the intervening two years since the 85th Texas Legislature, more Texans have fallen prey to the Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA) while a constitutional challenge awaits arguments in a Texas appellate court.  Lack of action by the Legislature has left vulnerable hospitalized patients across Texas defenseless against this unjust, imbalanced, and unconstitutional law.

This law has been abused to speed the deaths of patients like Breanna, a 26-year-old with multiple sclerosis who was in the hospital following a stroke.  Breanna’s physician asked his own hospital committee for permission to remove her ventilator.  When elaborating on his reason, he asked “[W]ho wants to live with multiple sclerosis?”  After her family sought Texas Right to Life’s help and intervention, Breanna was weaned from the ventilator within 48 hours and stable enough to return home to her family.

Currently, Section 166.046 of the Texas Health and Safety Code authorizes a physician to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining medical treatment from a patient against the patient’s clear instruction through an advance directive, verbally expressed medical decisions, or direction of the patient’s surrogate.  The physician simply must obtain approval of the hospital’s self-appointed and self-governed ethics committee to withdraw treatment (for any reason at all) and start a 10-day countdown.  After the 10 days, the physician is legally permitted to forcibly withdraw basic life-sustaining treatment, despite the wishes or directive of the patient or surrogate.  During the countdown period, the family bears the weight to transfer their loved one to another facility or physician willing to provide the necessary treatment.  After 10 calendar days have passed, the physician and the facility have absolute legal immunity to withdraw and deny all life-sustaining and medical treatment, undeniably hastening or even causing the patient’s death.

Instead of fostering an atmosphere of trust, communication, and resolution to treatment disagreements between providers, patients, and their families, the 10-day countdown fosters tension and discord between them–always with the patient on the losing side.  This law violates the Pro-Life principles of respecting the worth and dignity of each individual human.  The state undermines respect for the dignity of vulnerable patients when the authority to arbitrarily and unilaterally override the life and death medical decisions of patients and their families is given to doctors and hospital committees.  Consequently, numerous Pro-Life, medical, and bioethical experts have condemned TADA for the inclusion of the 10-day provision.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, respectfully urge the Texas Legislature to repeal the unethical “10-day countdown” clause in Section 166.046 of the Texas Health and Safety Code during this 86th Session of the Texas Legislature.

Senator Bryan Hughes and Representative Richard Raymond have filed SB 2089 and HB 3158 that would leave intact the process of allowing physicians to raise ethical concerns about treatment decisions while still protecting the Right to Life of patients.  The bill would allow physicians and hospital committees to transfer a patient while respecting the decision to maintain life-sustaining treatment until the patient can be safely transferred to another facility.

No other state has a medical ethics law as egregious as Texas’s that violates the patient’s Right to Life and constitutional right to due process.  In fact,

12 other states explicitly reject the framework effectuated by TADA (AL, FL, KS, ID, MD, MA, MN, NH, NY, OK, OH, and WY).

We respectfully request that you and your office become involved in the passage of this vital measure.

 

 

James J. Graham, President

Texas Right to Life

 

Julie McCarty, President

NE Tarrant Tea Party

 

Fran Rhodes, VP, Citizen Advocate Coordinator

NE Tarrant Tea Party

 

Trayce Bradford, President

Texas Eagle Forum

 

Carol Tobias, President

National Right to Life

 

JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director

Grassroots America – We the People PAC

 

Bobby Schindler, President

Terry Schiavo Life and Hope Network

 

Richard and Yvette DeOtte, Founders

Life Education and Action

 

Mark S. Ramsey, P.E.

Chair, 2018 Republican Party of Texas Platform and Resolutions Committee

 

Ann Hettinger, State Director

Concerned Women for America

 

Phil Sevilla, President

Texas Leadership Institute for Public Advocacy

 

Kassi Dee Patrick Marks, JD

Attorney and Pro-Life Advocate

 

Rick Scarborough, Founder

Vision America

 

The Most Reverend Rene Henry Gracida,

Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi

 

Tim Lambert, President

Texas Home School Coalition

 

Fr. Joseph C. Howard, Jr.

Moral Theologian and Bioethicist

John Paul the Great Bioethics Commission

Professor of Bioethics

Louisiana State University in Shreveport

 

Dr. David Hargroder,MD

Bariatric and Trauma Surgeon

John Paul the Great Bioethics Commission

 

Dr. Elizabeth D. Wickham

Executive Director, LifeTree.org

 

Julie Grimstad, President

Healthcare Advocacy and Leadership Organization

 

Mary Angela Knauss, M.D.

 

Matt Long, President

Fredericksburg Tea Party

 

James Dickey, Chairman

Republican Party of Texas

 

Texas Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee

Southern Baptists of Texas Convention

 

Teresa Strack, Director

Montgomery County Right to Life

 

 

 

Help pass Pro-Life legislation.  Support our legislative team lobbying in the Capitol on your behalf.

 

My gift is going to the Texas Right to Life Committee Inc.

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