The creeping trend to marginalize people who are seriously ill and
deny them treatment is manifesting in many laws and states. A Texas
sized battle is raging over that dangerous concept called ‘futile care’.
Texas lawmakers have introduced competing bills that
would either scrap or defend the controversial futile care law that has
come under national condemnation. The law allows medical facilities to
give families just 10 days to find places to care for their loved ones
when a medical center refuses treatment.
The statute allows hospitals and other medical facilities that
believe a patient is too far gone to help to give their families just
10 days to find another facility that will offer the treatment or
lifesaving medical care.
There’s the key problem, that hospital ‘ethics committees’ are
changing rules and redefining care according to utilitarian
calculations. So a committee that ‘believes’ a patient is ‘too far
gone’ to treat, is cutting them off from treatment.
Here’s the battle between preserving patients’ rights in health care
as we’ve traditionally known it…..and a system of medical rationing:
The first bill, HB 3325, which would permit an attorney
to represent the family or patient at a hearing, give the patient and
family a list of volunteers willing to help, and require
life-sustaining treatment to continue pending transfer regardless of
how long it takes to find a medical center willing to treat the patient.
The other bill, HB 2964, retains the right of hospitals to cut off
treatment but extends the time limit a mere four days from 10 to 14
days for the family to find another medical facility willing to provide
‘America’s Lifeline’ friend Wesley Smith has been following this:
“The current Texas Futile Care law is a disgrace,
permitting star chamber ethics committees to force patients off of
wanted life sustaining treatment, with family given a mere 10 days to
find another hospital,” he explains. “This often proves impossible
because these are expensive patients for which to care.”…
Smith calls HB 2964 “an explicit defense of Futile Care Theory” and
says the other measure is “the only bill that would eliminate most of
the injustice that is the heart of futile care.”
And this is only one state. Congress is attempting to overhaul the
American health care system using the budget process right now,
so expect more battles over patients’ rights.