s skippy the bush kangaroo: there are death panels

skippy the bush kangaroo

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

there are death panels

george (awol) bush's.
tuesday, march 22, 2005 sun hudson, a six-month old texas baby died last week when health care providers at texas children's hospital in houston, texas removed his life support system over the objections of his mother. the action was authorized under the 1999 futile care law which was signed into law by then-gov. george w. bush.

under the texas futile care law, health care workers are allowed to remove expensive life support for terminally ill patients if the patient or family is unable to pay the medical bills. - wikinews

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 9:01 AM |


I'm not sure that is entirely correct. Here is something I found online dealing with the Sun Hudson case, which is from someone who was involved in drafting the law:
"Under chapter 166 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, if an attending physician disagrees with a surrogate over a life-and-death treatment decision, there must be an ethics committee consultation (with notice to the surrogate and an opportunity to participate). In a futility case such as Sun Hudson's, in which the treatment team is seeking to stop treatment deemed to be nonbeneficial, if the ethics committee agrees with the team, the hospital will be authorized to discontinue the disputed treatment (after a 10-day delay, during which the hospital must help try to find a facility that will accept a transfer of the patient). These provisions, which were added to Texas law in 1999, originally applied only to adult patients; in 2003; they were made applicable to disputes over treatment decisions for or on behalf of minors. (I hasten to add that one of the co-drafters in both 1999 and 2003 was the National Right to Life Committee. Witnesses who testified in support of the bill in 1999 included representatives of National Right to Life, Texas Right to Life, and the Hemlock Society. Our bill passed both houses, unanimously, both years, and the 1999 law was signed by then Governor George W. Bush.)"

So the amendment that enabled Sun Hudson to be removed from life support was passed after Bush was out of office. The impression I received is that the law was about medical futility, not ability to pay. The point about "death panels", in this case a medical ethics board, is perhaps well-taken, but ability to pay is not, I think the primary motivator.
commented by Blogger DBK, 9:35 AM PDT  
This might be one example of a government approved "death panel: though it's no surprise that this was in Texas. But this is still rare and only in examples of when a number of "experts" decide that there is no chance of improvement for someone dying. I disagree with DBK in that of course the ability to pay has everything to do with the motivation -- if the hospital was getting money they would fight tooth and nail to keep the patient on life support. There's no shortage of examples of that.

But the reality is there are plenty of death panels -- often enough there is one insurance claims examiner with no medical experience whatsoever deciding on whether or not to deny coverage. And by the time patients fight these mega-corporations in court, it's all over.

Here's an article Salon posted on the subject:
commented by Anonymous sean, 1:54 PM PDT  
Like the man said, "Death Panel."
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 4:49 PM PDT  
One can only hope there is a *special place in hell for GW Bush*.
commented by Blogger Fran, 5:55 PM PDT  
lets get real here. my sister gave birth to a child years ago and was told that the child's chances of survival beyond a year were not good and rather than prolong what was a bad situation it was best to accept the reality of the situation and not provide continued care.

We as a species are not always going to procreate 100% and accepting the realities of life are sometimes not to our ever evolving likings.

We are still a species. Not manufactured with precision.
commented by Blogger Russ, 6:51 PM PDT  
Man,,,....everybody always hatin Texas...

What up wi dat????

commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 9:17 PM PDT  
"I disagree with DBK in that of course the ability to pay has everything to do with the motivation -- if the hospital was getting money they would fight tooth and nail to keep the patient on life support. There's no shortage of examples of that."

The doctors I encounter are extremely compassionate and caring people and they aren't trying to get people to die because it would cost the hospital money. The issues involved are far more complex than that, and if you read the article I cited, I think you'll see that the people involved in passing that law weren't trying to "kill deadbeats".
commented by Blogger DBK, 8:18 AM PDT  

I read your article and while it defended the laws, it didn't speak much to this specific case. Further, you're missing my point. Doctors can be compassionate, I've run into my share of others that weren't but that's irrelevant. Still most don't work at a loss and they don't run the hospital that employs them. Hospitals are businesses. And if there was someone willing to pay a hospital to pump what's needed to keep a patient alive, they'd be happy to oblige. I don't personally have a problem with unplugging the living dead and think there are far too many examples of people being forced to "live" beyond their time.

I don't know what to make of this specific case. The skippy article specifically implies that there was no one to pay the costs for continued treatment and also that the mother tried to bring the media in to video her child, claiming he was conscious, but the hospital refused. But the Schiavo incident was full of the same claims, and I have no problem with what the husband did there.

I have much greater issue with insurance companies deciding these issues.
commented by Anonymous sean, 11:01 AM PDT  
So who is on the ethcs board? The ethics board is the one that decides whether to remove life support under that law. I can't say whether it is entirely doctors or whether hospital administration also has a say, but I don't think this is cut and dried and I don't think it's a matter of economics.

I am with you about insurance companies.
commented by Blogger DBK, 3:06 PM PDT  

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