Monday, March 21, 2005

Right Wing Hypocrisy--AGAIN

The Schiavo Case vs "The Texas Futile Care Law"

Last Wednesday, March 16, 2005, six-month-old Sun Hudson died after doctors at Texas Children's Hospital removed his ventilator. Sun was born with an untreatable congenital disease. His condition was terminal, and no amount of treatment could have saved him. Sun was terminally ill, but he was conscious. He was not in a persistent vegetative state like Terri Schiavo. What is remarkable about the case is that Sun was removed from life support by force of a court order, and despite the objections of his mother, who wanted doctors to do all they could to prolong his short life. This is the first time a U.S. judge has allowed a hospital to cut off a child's life support against a parent's wishes.

Also in Texas, the family of 68-year-old Spiro Nikolouzos is fighting a Houston hospital to keep their husband and father alive after a court ordered the removal of life support. The hospital claimed Nikolouzos is brain dead, but a neurologist disagrees, citing good flow of blood to the brain, unassisted breathing, and the presence of EKG pulses. While the exact nature of Nikolouzes's neurological condition may be in question, and while his family claims he has been coming in and out of consciousness, what is not in question is that he is not in a persistent vegetative state like Terri Schiavo.

What these two cases have in common is that they result from the "Texas Futile Care Law" (chapter 166 of the Texas Health and Safety Code), which allows doctors and hospitals to remove life support from patients with terminal illnesses and who are unable to pay for extraordinary life support measures on their own. Let me put this another way: this is a law to protect hospitals and insurance companies from paying for the extraordinary care of patients who cannot afford this care on their own. It takes the life-support decisions out of the hands of family members or legal guardians, and puts those life-support decisions in the hands of hospital administrators and insurance companies.

The Texas Futile Care Law was enacted by the Texas legislature in 1999 and signed into law by then-Governor George W. Bush.

2 comments:

DaynaC7 said...

Terri Schiavo was not in a persistant vegetative state. Perhaps she lacked in ability to communicate in a seemingly functional manner, but she was conscious and aware.

I do not feel compelled to get into all the documentation regarding this...but if you are going to state it here - someone needs to stand up for her as she was unable to stand up for herself.

Dr. Fallon said...

Dayna--

Thanks for your comment.

I am not a medical doctor and I have never examined Mrs. Schiavo. By your remarks I must assume you are a medical doctor and did examine her. Your diagnosis is at odds with Mrs. Schiavo's own doctors who said that she was, in fact, in a persistent vegetative state.

I am not in favor of euthanasia. I am also not in favor of unnecessary, extraordinary measures to prolong life when in it goes against a patient's wishes. My take on the Schiavo case was to accept the facts--legal facts--as just that: facts.

However, you miss the entire point of the post. A law popularly called "The Texas Futile Care Law" was enacted by the Texas legislature in 1999 and signed into law by then-Governor George W. Bush. It is a law to protect hospitals and insurance companies from paying for the extraordinary care of patients who cannot afford this care on their own. It takes the life-support decisions out of the hands of family members or legal guardians, and puts those life-support decisions in the hands of hospital administrators and insurance companies.

Tell me, if you will, what you think of this law, and of the sad situation of Sun Hudson, who didn't become the right-wing cause celebre that Mrs. Schiavo did. Perhpas because it was not in the interests of the corporate-controlled mass media to shed light on this abominable law? Or perhpas because Sun Hudson was black?

Where is your indignation for poor terminally-ill patients in Texas?

To me, it looks like right-wing hypocrisy--AGAIN.