Hospital "Votes" To Ends Patient's Life Against Family's Wishes

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by GotZoom, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    An ill woman in Houston could die within days because a hospital ethics committee has voted to take her off life support – this despite the fact the 54-year-old is not in a coma, is not brain dead and wants to go on living, her family says.

    On April 30, Andrea Clark is scheduled to be on the receiving end of a Texas law that allows a hospital ethics committee to terminate care with 10 days' notice, giving the patient's family that length of time to find a different facility.

    "They just say, 'Well she's miserable.' Well, to me that's a quality of life decision that is up to her and her family," Lanore Dixon told KHOU-TV. "That is not a medical decision."

    Dixon recently protested at the St. Luke's Hospital on behalf of Clark, her sister, who has been hospitalized there since November.

    In January, Clark underwent open-heart surgery and later developed bleeding on the brain. A ventilator, which the committee voted to remove Sunday, helps her breathe.

    Talking about the Texas law, Dixon told KHOU: ""If their ethics committee makes a decision, it doesn't matter what the patient wants. It doesn't even apparently matter what the patient's condition is, because our sister is not in a coma; she's not brain dead."

    Clark's family says though she cannot speak, they are able to communicate with her by moving her lips and blinking her eyes.

    Columnist and attorney Wesley J. Smith, who wrote extensively on the Terri Schiavo case in Florida, chimed in on his blog:

    "Note that the treatment is apparently being removed because it works, not because it doesn't – which means, in effect, that the hospital ethics committee has declared the patient's life to be futile."

    Noting that the family wants Clark to live, Smith noted, "It is as if Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers wanted Terri's care continued but the hospital said no."

    Smith described the Texas law as allowing "private decision-making that will result in death without even the right to a public hearing, to cross examine witnesses or a formal appeal."

    Some have charged the law is meant to benefit insurance companies who want hospitals to get critical patients "off the books."

    According to the TV station report, Clark's family is doing all it can to find another facility that will treat Andrea.

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=49888
     
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  2. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    It's so very nice to see civilization evolving backwards!!!
     
  3. CrimsonWhite
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    CrimsonWhite *****istrator Emeritus Supporting Member

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    If the Hospital kills this woman, it will be a travesty. This isn't close to the Schiavo case. This is wrong.
     
  4. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    At least they're not refusing treatment to someone who can't afford it then letting them die.
     
  5. Abbey Normal
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    Abbey Normal Senior Member

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    When my mom was in almost this exact situation, the hospital arranged for a hospice for her to go to. They did all the legwork work for us, we just met with a hospice rep and signed the papers at the hospital. But it was clear that the hospital was simply not going to keep her there any longer. I suspect that this practice is more common than we think.
     
  6. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    Update.

    The hospital backed off it's plans after wide and not-so-friendly (as can be imagined) publicity about pulling her off life support. They found a doctor who agreed to continue treatment at the hospital.

    --------------------

    Andrea Clark Has Passed Away

    We received the sad news from her sister this evening:

    Andrea passed away peacefully a little before 3pm today, with her family and her friends at her bedside. We love her so very much and we are going to miss her terribly. We hope that the battle that we fought for our sister will bring to light and bear witness to the horrible acts committed in the name of ethics in hospitals across the state of Texas.

    The fact that we had to fight this battle is both frightening and a sad commentary on the so-called "ethics" now being practiced in medical facilities in this state. The battle for life is a difficult one, in the best of situations, but when a family is put through what we had to go through at such a time, it is especially agonizing.

    We wish so much that we could have spent more time at our sister's side, when she was living and fighting for her life, rather than having to visit our attorney's office, give interviews to radio and television stations to let the public know of the atrocity about to befall Andrea, and literally stand outside the hospital and beg them not to kill our sister. In attempting to deprive Andrea of the most basic of her human rights--life--St. Luke's Hospital managed to deprive her family and her of that which is most dear to us all, when we are faced with the death of a loved one: a proper goodbye.

    How, in the name of God, anyone can call putting someone to death when they are at their most helpless and begging for their lives "ethical," we cannot imagine.

    Melanie Childers

    Andrea’s family has been an example of strength and compassion, showing courage to speak out against legalized euthanasia as it threatened the life of their loved one. Their actions have indeed born witness “to the horrible acts committed in the name of ethics in hospitals across the state of Texas.”

    Thanks to all who took a stand for Andrea and valued her despite her health related struggles and the decisions of her hospital. We extend our deepest sympathies to Andrea's family and our thoughts and prayers are with those who now mourn the loss of their sister and mother.


    http://www.prolifeblogs.com/articles/archives/2006/05/andrea_clark_ha.php
     
  7. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    Having worked with hospital ethics commissions and ethicists, I can tell you that the hospitals decision in this case was the result of an exhaustive process that included a review of all pertinent test results, consults of MD's and other specialists involved in the case and extensive attempts to educate the family as to Mrs. Clark's condition and prognosis. But, if the family doesn't want to, or can't understand what is being presented to them, then the ethics committee, which is mandated by JCHAO regs, will act.

    Since we only have the family's version of events, it is inappropriate to second guess the ethics committee. Ethics committees will step in when the attending physicians, or any other member of the healthcare team, has real concerns regarding the futility of care. Their decisions are not made lightly, or capriciously and should in no way be misconstrued or misrepresented as a "death sentence" as some half-wit blogger did. If the ethics committee reccomended that life support be withdrawn, it was because it would make no difference to the eventual outcome, as shown by the fact that this patient passed while the decision was being appealed.

    In cases such as this, medical professionals are accused of "playing God". It would be more appropriate to point that finger at the family members who insist on keeping their loved ones on life support despite the fact that the outcome, death, will only be somewhat delayed. Is this not an attempt to circumvent God's will?
     
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  8. nukeman
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    nukeman Active Member

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    I have to agree with you 100% I have worked in healthcare for over 17 years. I have seen first hand wht you are talking about. You failed to mention that the reason you won't hear the ethics commitee side is due to HIPPA. The news media spins everything to make the health industry look bad. This woman more than likely had a terminal condition and was in extreme pain or distress and the family just couldnt let go.

    I have seen that parents are more willing to let a child go than a child to let a parent go. this lady was in her 50's so more than likely it was the children not willing to let go of "mom"

    just my opinion......
     
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  9. ErikViking
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    ErikViking VIP Member

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    Just to let me know I understand you right here, since we all are going to die, what are the boundaries for the reasoning you show here? Years, days or hours? In your opinion, when is the effort to keep a person alive not a circumvention of Gods will?

    Also, why should anyone point a finger at people because of their sorrow? That is almost outreageus? "Look, you are going to loose someone dear so start mourning correct." Is that what you mean?
     
  10. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    Erik - God's will has nothing to do with it. The policy decision has to be made on temporal grounds. Bringing God into it just clouds everything.

    But since you asked a question. If sentience is gone - if there's "brain death" and no hope of recovery - then turn off the machines.
     

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