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Texas Acts to End Rule Allowing Doctors to Withdraw Life-Saving Care Against Wishes of Family

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The Texas State Senate has passed a Bill that aims to end the controversial “10-day rule,” which allows doctors to withdraw life-saving care against the wishes of family members.


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Will Maule

The Texas State Senate has passed a Bill that aims to end the controversial “10-day rule,” which allows doctors to withdraw life-saving care against the wishes of family members.

The original law, called “The Texas Advance Directives Act (1999)” is a legal provision which allows health care facilities to discontinue life-sustaining treatment ten days after giving written notice to the family.

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Now, a new bill, SB 2089, seeks to nullify the 10-day rule and rightly endow family members with the power to make life-altering decisions about the medical care administered to their loved ones.

The purpose of this Act is to protect the right of patients and their families to decide whether and under what circumstances to choose or reject life-sustaining treatment,” the bill reads.

This Act amends the applicable provisions of the Advance Directives Act (Chapter 166, Health and Safety Code) to ensure that, when an attending physician is unwilling to respect a patient ’s advance directive or a patient ’s or family ’s decision to choose the treatment necessary to prevent the patient ’s death, life-sustaining medical treatment will be provided until the patient can be transferred to a health care provider willing to honor the directive or treatment decision.

SB 2089 passed through the Texas Senate May 14, but still has a way to go if it is to become law. It will now go to an Out of House Committee, then be voted on in the House, before finally going to the Governor for signing.

“We are hoping that the bill does not die,” pro-life campaigner Mark Dickson told Faithwire. “There is a lot of feet dragging going on right now down in Austin. We need the Governor of Texas to make this a priority issue.”

Texas Acts Quickly to End Rule Allowing Doctors to Withdraw Life-Saving Care Against Wishes of Family

Image credit: Mark Dickson

Still, this is a promising first step. “Remember friends, on Monday Donald [Carolyn’s husband], was saying his goodbyes to his wife of thirty-nine years–but God had other plans,” Dickson wrote on Facebook. “Thank you, Jesus!”

What is the latest?

After the decision was taken to remove Carolyn, a stroke victim, from life support May 13, there was a frantic effort to raise the funds required to transfer Jones to another facility.

Now, after much prayer and some incredibly generous donations, Jones has finally been released from Houston’s Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital and ferried by private ambulance to Ben Taub Hospital, which is staffed by faculty, residents, and students from Baylor College of Medicine.

There, a dedicated team of medics immediately ensured that Carolyn was adequately cared for.

“Not only did they accept her, but they agreed that she needed dialysis if she was going to live,” explained Dickson, who has been advocating on behalf of the family.

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“Because Ben Taub had no extra beds, they arranged an emergency transfer to another hospital that was ready and willing to help Carolyn Jones get the life-sustaining treatment that she desperately needed,” Dickson added.

Though Jones is stable for now, Mark reminded supporters just how desperately unprofessional the original hospital had been throughout the entire process.

“Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital refused to provide Carolyn Jones with the care that she needed to survive,” Dickson explained of the shocking situation. “That hospital was a death trap and one we had to escape from.”

Texas Acts Quickly to End Rule Allowing Doctors to Withdraw Life-Saving Care Against Wishes of Family

Image credit: Mark Dickson

Though the private transfer was successful, it was certainly a struggle. Dickson noted that hospital workers at the Memorial booted out many of those supporting the family through this nightmarish situation.

“In the process of this great escape, several of our patient advocates were kicked out of the hospital and off of Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital’s property,” Dickson explained.

Still, for now, Carolyn is out of the woods—and that is a massive answer to prayer!

“Thank you, Jesus. I know Texas Right to Life and Right to Life of East Texas are both extremely grateful for everyone who played a role in helping Carolyn Jones get the help that she needed,” Dickson said.

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While the immediate danger is no more, Dickson added that “the fight for the life of Carolyn Jones is not over!” and urged people to keep giving to the fundraising effort.

You can donate here.