SB 303 empowers doctors to place “Do Not Resuscitate” orders in the files of sickly children and the elderly without their consent. No one, not even the patient or a member of his family can remove this death sentence. No one, that is, except a panel of doctors.
We spoke to Susan King, the House author of SB 303, who said that hospitals have better judgment than parents as to whether their child should continue to receive life-support treatment. This bill takes away the parents’ authority to make important healthcare decisions for their child and gives that authority to a doctor.
SB 303 grants doctors complete immunity from lawsuits from DNRs. Legal liability for DNR orders would hold the doctor responsible for their actions. Removing liability removes accountability.
Doesn’t the bill require notification before a DNR order is placed?
Doctors must give notification of a DNR order unless the patient’s death is considered “imminent,” but notification is not consent. Even if the doctor notifies the parent of the DNR, the parent can do NOTHING.
Can the hospital still remove artificially administered food and water?
Yes. SB 303 allows doctors to remove the artificially administered nutrition and hydration from a sick patient if the treatments: [Section 166.046(e)]
- Hasten the patient’s death,
- “Exacerbate other major medical problems not outweighed by the benefit of the provision of the treatment,”
- “Result in substantial irremediable physical pain or discomfort not outweighed by the benefit of the provision of the treatment,” or
- Are “Be medically ineffective in prolonging the patient’s life.”
Only the child’s family should have the authority to decide whether to withdraw the life-sustaining nutrition.
Are there beneficial aspects to the bill?
As with many controversial bills, SB 303 contains both positive and negative elements. For instance, the bill requires that a doctor give notice of a DNR order. Additionally, the bill extends the time that a patient has to transfer hospitals before life-sustaining treatment is withdrawn. Currently, a family has 10 days to transfer their child to another hospital. SB 303 extends the time clock to 21 days. However, the Texas Right to Life has helped 80 families through the transfer process and very few can complete the transfer process within 21 days.
Contact your Representative in opposition to this hospital euthanasia bill. Doctors should not have the power to issue death sentences in the form of Do Not Resuscitate orders against the will of the patient and the patient’s family.
For a comprehensive comparison of the bill with the current law, see: http://goo.gl/irwgF
The bill passed the Senate and will receive a hearing in the house committee on Monday, May 13, 2013. Please contact the following committee members in opposition to the bill:
Chair: Lois Kolkhorst
Vice Chair: Elliot Naishtat