Home ] About DV ] Blog ] [ ]  [ Add to Google ]







Texas Does It Big Once Again: Futile Care Law Blunder


By Carrie K. Hutchens

The "Futile Care Law" in Texas is one of the bigger health care blunders that have come to the attention of the American people in the past few years. A law that allows for a physician to decide, in spite of the patient's and family wishes, that care is futile and that it is time to put 'em down. Oh sure, the ethic's committee supposedly has to go along with the deal and a ten day notice is issued to either put the patient in someone else's pasture or put them out of their alleged misery and save some bucks. Don't want to run up them there bills and keep someone around that isn't pulling their weight, now do we? I mean, we have moved beyond that human fragility, haven't we?

Who are these people that are on the ethic committees? Are they screened? What are their qualifications? Who supervises them? Who over-sees their performance? Is there any accountability?

Ten day notice? Sounds more like someone is sending out a past due and/or shut off notice for a utility rather than a human life.

Texas may think it is somehow more advanced than the rest of the human race, but clearly the people of America don't agree.

According to information I received, a poll was commissioned by the Texas Right to Life. It was conducted between February 15 and February 18, 2007 by RT Strategies. The sample size was 1,000 with a margin of error of +3.1%.

1. Imagine a seriously ill patient is unconscious and has never expressed a desire for or against life support should he or she require it. If the patients family wants life support for the patient, but the doctor thinks that the patients quality of life is too low to merit life support, which of the following best describes your opinion: the family of the patient should be able to get life support for the patient or the doctor should be allowed to withhold life support from the patient?


The family of the patient should be able to get life support for the patient......... 75%

The doctor should be allowed to withhold life support from the patient... 19%

Not sure........................................... 6%



2. As you may know, under current law in some states such as Texas for example, a hospital committee can decide to deny life support against the will of a patient or the patients family, who are then given ten days to try to find another hospital willing to give the patient life support. If they cannot, life support is then cut off and the patient is allowed to die. Do you support or oppose changing the law to require life support until the patient can be transferred to a willing hospital, without a time limit?


Support........................................ 69%

Oppose....................................... 22%

Not sure............... 8%

*Provided by Texas Right to Life.

There are doctors who still believe in fighting with every ounce of their ability, being and technology, but not all fall within this category. Even then, doctors do make mistakes. Doctors sometimes give up before the spirit of their patient does. The human spirit that often gives us marvelous stories to share of how -- against all odds -- someone survived an "assumed" unsurvivable situation or event. So what about that? What about the thing that makes us human and so eager to believe and to fight against the negative odds and suggestion that we can't do something -- especially survive?

Wasn't there a time that people thought no one could fly and the Wright brothers were a bit on the crazy side? But they did fly and what would the world do now without all the jetliners and ability to fly from one coast to the other in such short time?

There was even a time that no one believed it was possible to carry the human voice through a wire to another person. Heavens, what would we now do without our telephones, cell phones, internet, email and television?

What about the time that one thought pneumonia was a death sentence? Or that a stroke victim was damaged goods forever with no chance of recovery and always an invalid?

What happened to doctors wanting to prove that disease and injury could not conquer the human race or spirit, but instead, that they would find the solutions to save both mankind, as a whole, and the individual members that happened to be apart of it?

How did it come to be that some doctors seem to be bored and not into the fight as they once were? Doctors that worry now more about payment than success rates and making health and recovery top priority over "business."

But even if doctors want to say that there are times that people ought to be "allowed" to be let go because it is only technology keeping the body alive -- because there are times that is true -- what about this law termed the "Futile Care Law" that seems to be stepping too far the wrong way? What about when the doctor and ethics committee happen to be wrong? You know... the ones with all the power always, but especially at just the wrong time?

How does one find a facility that is willing to give their family member a chance to survive when another one has said there is no hope, and most likely the good money has run out?

Does everyone have the means to get an attorney, or to even find one willing to take on such case at the drop of the hat and especially before ten days are up?

As far as I can see, the Futile Care Law in Texas, by any name it wishes to be called by, is one big blunder that needs to be halted an reviewed with some serious consideration as to those affected.

The decisions affect real live human beings and the families of real live human beings! They aren't sending out notices of utility shut offs. They are sending out notices that "life" of a human being will be terminated and no deposit or reconnect fee will ever bring that person back again. Once done -- it is all over with!

The "Futile Care Law" as it now stands needs to receive it's 10 Day Notice! The people have spoken!


Carrie Hutchens is a former law enforcement officer and a freelance writer who is active in fighting against the death culture movement and the injustices within the judicial and law enforcement systems.


Purchase merchandise regarding this columnist


Write a letter to the editor about this article


Like this article?  Want to help Dakota Voice?