WND comments on proposed reforms to Texas´ futile care law

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“A new bill advancing through the Texas Legislature would allow doctors to decide when you die, giving them the authority to issue “Do Not Resuscitate” orders regardless of the wishes expressed by patients or their families.
 
The legislation, known as Texas S.B. 303, is sponsored by State Sen. Bob Deuell, vice chair of the Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.  Deuell is a Republican, and the GOP holds the majority in the chamber.  The bill has already been approved by the committee.
 
“This should scare a lot of people because what this bill says is that a doctor can impose a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order, write it into the patient’s chart even over the patient’s objection,” said Burke Balch, director of the National Right to Life Committee’s Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics.
 
Balch told WND the patient would be left with few options.
 
“The patient could then appeal to an ethics committee. In the meantime, until that appeal is registered, if the person goes into cardiac arrest, then that person will die.  And more to the point, you don’t even have the right to appeal to the committee if the doctor says, without being checked by anybody else, that in his opinion your death is imminent,” said Balch, who noted that classification is not as clear-cut as people might think.
 
“The problem is that there’s no definition of imminent.  There used to be a definition in the law that said your death is considered imminent if you’re going to die in minutes to hours.  Now we’ve got some people who say if you’re going to die within six months or you’re going to die within a year, that means your death is imminent.  So what this bill is saying, essentially, is that if the doctor thinks that you’re going to maybe die in six months, maybe in a year and they say, ‘We think this is imminent,’ then you don’t even have the right to try to go somewhere and ask that this Do Not Resuscitate order be lifted,” he said.
 
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