Death Panel Bill Hearing Monday in Texas House
May 8, 2013
The hospital industry continues to push hard for SB 303, passed last month by the Texas Senate and now under consideration in the Texas House.
House Public Health Chairwoman Lois Kolkhorst (512-463-0600) has set a hearing this Monday, May 13, which could hasten this anti-patient bill towards passage.
The bill would give hospitals nearly unlimited power to end the lives of patients in their facilities and would create, for the first time, a right of a hospital to insert a “do not attempt resuscitation” order into the medical file without the knowledge or consent of the patient or family. SB 303 was written in an extremely one-sided manner to benefit hospitals, to the detriment of patients.
For example, under SB 303 hospitals do not have to provide written notice to patients about an intent to withhold care, but patients do have to provide their objections in writing. In practice, the patient will be dead before a typical patient’s family can wake up to what the hospital did.
This problem is increasingly common. We hear from AAPS physicians who are shocked by what some hospitals are now doing in hastening death, refusing to reduce sedation, or otherwise denying reasonable family requests for their loved ones. Even the media, in a segment aired by 60 Minutes recently, exposed the callous disregard for life at some hospitals. The hospital industry now routinely opposes pro-life legislation. SB 303 gives the wealthy hospital industry more power and less outside accountability than existing law.
Hospital refusal to care for certain patients is not due to lack of money. Hospitals often pay their executives million-dollar salaries, despite claiming to be non-profit. Hospitals receive billions in taxpayer funding. But if a physician ever stands up for a patient against a hospital administration, then he can expect to be kicked off the staff and entered into a National Practitioner Data Bank for supposedly bad physicians. Patients, not hospitals, are the ones who should be protected by legislation.
SB 303 gives all the power to the hospitals. Patients cannot even get their medical records quickly, and have no way of knowing if the hospital put in a secret “do not attempt resuscitation” order against their loved ones. The traditional patient-physician relationship would be destroyed by SB 303. Patients will not even have a right to an independent second opinion. This is worse than current law, which is silent on some of these issues. And SB 303 grants hospitals sweeping immunity against any accountability for its anti-patient actions.
Nearly every pro-life and conservative leader has reached the same conclusion about SB 303: it’s a terrible law that must be stopped. But the hospital industry is powerful, particularly among some Texas Senators and a few other groups. Patients and independent physicians know this is a bad bill, and with your help we can stop it in the Texas House.
Please contact your Representative and ask him to oppose this power grab by hospitals. Patients and their families should not be victimized by DNAR orders without their consent and even their knowledge.